Catholic Church in Uganda Short of Wine for Mass

The Catholic Church in Uganda is facing a critical shortage of mass wine. Wine is one of the important items at the altar for the holy Eucharist.

The most holy Sacrifice of the Eucharist must be celebrated in bread, and in wine to which a small quantity of water is to be added as per the present Code of Canon Law.

The wine that is used in the most sacred celebration of the Eucharistic Sacrifice must be natural, from the fruit of the grape, pure and incorrupt, not mixed with other substances.

“Wine represents the blood of Christ. And there is a reason wine is mixed with water during Eucharist because during the death of Jesus on the Cross the soldiers pierced his sides, and blood and water gushed out” said one Catholic believer told URN.

Holly Communion represents Jesus’  Last Supper with the disciples during Passover. Catholics believe that during the last meal, Jesus blessed the bread and wine and said ” This is my body…… This is My blood”

So wine is key in consecration. The Roman Catholic teachings say Jesus is present in the consecrated.

It is emerging that the shortage which has been in place right since the Lent period is likely to bite further because of the war in the Middle East has affected shipments to Uganda as well.

JW InterServices Ltd, the Church’s holding company charged with international procurement has notified dioceses of the problem, urging them to use what is in stock sparingly. It said there has been a delay owing to the change of supply routes caused by the Middle East conflict.

The Church procures the wine from Spain for celebrations of the Sacrament of Holy Communion. According to information seen by URN addressed to all dioceses in Uganda, the prelates are expected to sparingly use the available wine to navigate the crisis.

According to the April 30th, 2024 letter referenced 240430/Admin/Tr1 written by the company’s managing director, Rev Fr Asiku Alfred Tulu, wine had been expected to arrive in the country by the beginning of April but this may only be actualized only at the end of May, owing to change of routes.  The company belongs to the Catholic Episcopal Conference in Uganda and handles the Church’s international procurement and some internal ones.

“This is to inform you that due to the Middle-East wars, the ship’s usual passage through the Mediterranean and the Red Sea were suspended and cancelled.  The ships have been diverted to take longer and safer routes through the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean which has caused a major crisis and delays of their arrival to Mombasa Port,” the company wrote.

“This has affected the arrival of Mass Wine which we had expected to be here at the beginning of April 2024.  The information from our shippers indicates that Wine will arrive in Mid-May and we hope to clear it through Uganda Customs by the end of the month of May,” the letter signed by Fr Tulu added, as he urged economy.

“This, therefore is to kindly request you to regulate the use of wine as much as possible.  In the meantime, we have limited stock of White Mass Wine, duly approved by the Uganda Episcopal Conference.  Kindly note, it is also limited,” Fr Tulu implored as he apologized for “any inconveniences caused by this unforeseen situation caused by the above factors.”

The information is supposed to be relayed to all Church parishes in the country.

The war that has raged on since October 7th, 2024 when the Palestinian Hamas fighters attacked Israel killing some tens and abducting over one hundred Jews, has seen many other state and non-state actors sucked into the conflict, leading to the Red Sea, a major navigation route becoming unsafe for trade vessels.

As Israel forces relentlessly pound Gaza and targets in the West Bank, over thirty thousand lives, including men, women, children, and patients have been lost, leading to worldwide condemnation of Israel which enjoys financial, military, and diplomatic support of the United States, United Kingdom, France and a number of other western countries.