Monsignor Matthew Odong visited Providence Academy this fall to show his gratitude for our assistance in funding his school in Uganda and to solicit ongoing support for Hope for Uganda, a foundation to bring hope to the people of northern Uganda through faith, education, health, and sustainability. The school, named Archbishop Flynn Secondary School, is entering its 11th year serving the communities surrounding Pader, Uganda.
Just 10 years ago, the opening of the Archbishop Flynn Secondary School allowed students in Uganda access to private education. Here, they could grow in academics, as well as in faith, knowledge, and virtue. According to Monsignor Odong, the people in Uganda always had a goal of being able to create a school similar in values to Providence Academy, a school where students could grow not only in basic skills such as math and writing, but also have opportunities to develop their faith and leadership. Support from Providence and many others here in Minnesota, made it possible for Monsignor to make this dream a reality and fulfill this part of his priestly calling.
So much support was shown from the Minneapolis area that the school was named after our own archbishop. The late Archbishop Flynn showed his generosity when he supported Uganda and gathered the Christian community in Minneapolis because he wanted to help create a school in Uganda for the children and families there, who were living in poverty as a result of the war. Archbishop Flynn was a man well-known for his compassion and generosity towards others.
“He was a man who cared so much about the people around him, and always wanted to support us, all the way in Uganda. He made it a priority to ensure that the kids in Uganda had a good Catholic education,” reflected Monsignor Odong.
Providence Academy Chaplain Father Michael McClellan echoed his sentiments: “Any encounter I ever had with Archbishop Flynn always left me with a good impression. I got to know him when I was in seminary, and will always remember him for his personal holiness, his kindness, and as a fine example of a Christian gentleman.”
Now a tradition at Providence, students look forward to a visit from ‘the ice cream man” each year. Monsignor Odong became known as the ice cream man because of his famous “Ice Cream Song” enjoyed by lower, middle, and upper schoolers alike.
Monsignor Odong remarked, “I always enjoy coming to Providence Academy to visit the students because I am shown what a good community is here, and how much support Uganda has. If I were to die tomorrow, I know that the people of Uganda are supported by the people of Minnesota.”