Friendship Begins on the Journey...

Our Lady Star of the Sea formed a sister parish relationship with Mary, Mother of Martyrs, Nyakishenyi Parish, located in the Kabale Diocese in southwestern Uganda, in January 2010.  Star of the Sea parishioners are encouraged to pray especially for and help with the needs of our sister parish. To learn more or to be a part of the Sister Parish Ministry, please contact Tammi Murray at 360-990-0900 (evenings) or e-mail:

About Our Lady Mary, Mother of Martyrs

Our Lady Mary Mother of the Church Nyakishenyi parish started in 1963 separated from Kitanga parish which was a mother parish. Its population is 49,878 and out 35,000 are Catholics. It is found on the hills 60km North of the Diocese of Kabale cathedral, in South Western Uganda. The parish headquarters is found on Kajumiro hills Kajumiro Catholic centre. On the Feast of Divine Mercy in 2017,  Mary, Mother of the Church was changed to Mary, Mother of Martyrs at the consecration of the new church building. The parish is endowed with fertile soils and the majority of Catholics depend on agriculture. The majority of Catholics are peasants and most food grown in the parish is for home consumption and very little for sale. Coffee is grown as our major cash crop. Most people are of poor background.

Our Lady Mary Mother of Martyrs Nyakishenyi Parish has 11 catholic centers and 24 Village churches (“Hikas”) totaling 35.
All the Centres are led by the Eucharistic Ministers and village churches by the catechists. All Catechists reside at the churches. Priests stay at the Parish. Mary, Mother of Martyrs Parish, has one pastor, Fr. Reuben Mubangizi, and an assistant priest, Fr. Boniface Katatika.

Our Lady Mary, Mother of Martyrs is built at Kajumiro catholic centre, because Kajumiro is in the middle, other centres are around it. When missionaries came to Kabale, formally known as Kigezi, they started church school which later became government aided school after independence of Uganda 1962. There are now 21 government aided school in the area, out which 13 are Roman Catholic Church founded.

There are two secondary schools and one is a Roman Catholic Church founded. Despite the presence of schools in the area, there are many catholics who can not read and write.

The church cares for health wellbeing of her people by teaching them to be clean and live in a clean environment. People are encouraged to take children for immunization and other primary health care services and takes part in the HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention campaigns. The parish has one health centre at the parish. The health centre serves both in and out patients and it has a maternity ward. It serves people of all religious denominations.

Mission Statement:

The Sister Parish Ministry at Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church strives to deepen our faith and experience the universal catholic church through developing a Sister Parish relationship with our sisters and brothers at Mary, Mother of Martyrs, Nyakishenyi Parish, in Uganda.  Guided by Gospel values and Catholic Social Teaching, we desire to foster solidarity and cultivate creativity for a mutually beneficial relationship of sharing, understanding, and respecting each other’s values, cultures, and resources.

The Sister Parish Motto:

The motto of the Sister Parish Ministry is “Friendship Begins on the Journey” which translates as “Omukago gutandikira aha Muhanda” in Rukiga, the language spoken by the people in our Sister Parish, who are referred to as Bakiga. 

Parish Projects

Our Lady Mary Mother of Martyrs Nyakishenyi parish runs the following projects:

  • Construction of a new church building – Complete!
    With the help of many donors, local and afar, Mary, Mother of Martyrs was able to construct a new church building. 


  1. The health centre at the parish headquarters is not big enough to meet the growing population in the area.
  2. Improvement of our schools. Most of the schools were built by missionaries and are not enough for our many kids. In relation to this, we have a number of orphans due to the scourge of AIDS. Our Parish has had its fair share of this problem like most parts of Uganda.
  3. Inadequate protected water sources. The water we have at the parish premises is tapped from the house roofs which are not clean at all. We have gravity water but the communities around the parish have less income to improve on the existing old water pipes and water stands and it is not enough for bigger communities. However, there is no clean water in the villages far from the parish.

Parish Awareness

The Christians are fully aware of the power of prayer. They believe that it is way of taking a moment to unite and talk to the creator. They are divided into prayer groups for adults and youths. We call the groups lay postulate movement.

The following are the youth movements in place:

  • Church choirs- in all churches in the parish
  • Legionaries
  • Eucharistic crusaders

Besides prayer, the youth have development projects at the church such as tree planting for income and environment protection, tea growing and they are organizing to start a micro finance project.

The adults on the other hand have the following prayer group movements:

  • Legionaries
  • Group to play for the soul in purgatory
  • Catholic charismatic renewal
  • St. Jude Tadeo group
  • A group for catechists
  • Basic Christian Communities

Along with praying together, some of these groups have started credit organizations and saving in order to fight poverty which is the biggest problem in the area. This has been done through the following ways:

  • Save for Burial
  • “Ebibina Byengozi” (Groups that are intended to carry sick persons in the community to the nearest health unit)
Side view of the church with part of the faithful that attended the opening ceremony of the new church building - 2017

Ways to Make a Difference

Include Our Sister Parish in your regular prayers. You can also send a Spiritual Bouquet/Mass Enrollment, or offer a Mass Intention.

There are several projects and fundraisers we have throughout the year to help support our Sister Parish with their various needs. Our current needs are:

  1. Health and Hygiene
    • Surplus medical supplies from clinics and hospitals
    • Tylenol, Ibuprofen, anti-diarrheal medication, & anti-biotic cream
    • Prescription and reading glasses
    • Re-usable feminine hygiene products
  2. Development Projects for Women’s Groups
    • Old calendars (to be used to make paper beads)
    • Sewing supplies – buttons, pins, needles, simple patterns, sewing scissors, elastic
    • Jewelry-making supplies (not children’s)
    • Crochet supplies – yarn, crochet hooks, instruction booklets (lots of pictures)
    • Canning supplies & canning books and recipes (especially for vegetables and tropical fruits)
  3. School & Educational Supplies
    • New pens and pencils
    • New colored pencils, markers, crayons
    • New erasers
    • Small pencil sharpeners
    • Student scissors
    • Children’s books, American and English literature and African literature in English
    • Classroom supplies (charts, math kits, science kits, etc.)
    • Educational play kits (for nursery school)
    • Gently used Twin bed sheets & pillow cases
  4. Children’s Items
    • Soccer balls (best to take deflated and take a few hand pumps too)
    • Frisbees
    • Jump ropes (good quality, not Dollar Store) and Chinese jump ropes
    • Bubbles
    • Stickers and temporary tattoos (be sensitive about designs)
    • “Friendship” bracelets
  5. Internet and Computer Classroom Projects
    • Used Laptops & Tablets (working or not)
    • Projector with HDMI cord and clicker device and Portable screen
    • Used digital cameras
    • Used Smart Phones
  6. Religious Items
    1. Rosaries and holy cards, especially our Blessed Mother and the Saints (no U.S.-specific materials, please)
    2. Vestments and liturgical items
    3. Religious books, especially Papal encyclicals and apostolic exhortations, commentaries on Mass readings, theology, moral issues, and lives of the saints. No dated materials.

If you have any questions, please contact Tammi Murray: or 990-0900(evenings)

  Donate to Our Sister Parish

Visit Mary, Mother of Martyrs, Nyakishenyi Parish! Our 3rd Visiting delegation to our Sister Parish is scheduled for August 10-27, 2017.  Please contact Tammi for details.

Write a letter or send greeting cards to parishioners at our Sister Parish or request a pen pal:


Postal Address:
Mary, Mother of Martyrs, Nyakishenyi Parish 
℅ Bishop’s House
P.O. Box 200
E-Mail Addresses:
Fr. Reuben Mubangizi, Pastor of Mary, Mother of Martyrs, Nyakishenyi Parish –

Fr. Justus Lucas Kiiza, Financial Administrator, Kabale Diocese –

Ministry Updates:

Meet the Visiting Delegation Team!

A group of four team members are going on a trip to visit our Sister Parish in Uganda, August 9, 2017!
Meet the individuals who will be visiting Nyakishenyi Parish and various other places in Uganda & Kenya:


Emily Warren

My name is Emily Warren. I will be joining the Visiting Delegation to Uganda & Kenya in August 2017. Africa has always fascinated me. At an early age, my sense of adventure and exploration was very much influenced by watching nature shows on PBS and reading National Geographic magazines.

Visiting Uganda and Kenya falls in align with my values and purpose: learn from other cultures and contribute towards a more sustainable world. After college, I worked overseas as a social worker for a few years. I had the opportunity to immerse myself in a new culture and work with people from all over the world. London is truly an international hub!
Meeting Tammi that morning on the ferry was a blessing. As I listened and asked questions about Uganda, my heart spoke to me. It was the right time and place in my life for this opportunity. My heart, soul, and mind were intuitively aligned. I decided to go that morning!



Leticia Holleman

Leticia Holleman is a life-long learner, a lover of travel, and deeply passionate about serving others less fortunate in surrounding communities and across the globe. As a military wife of 25 years to a retired Navy Corpsman and mom to four amazing children, she has had ample opportunity to combine her desire for meeting new people and experiencing a variety of cultures throughout the family’s 15 moves across the US. Interwoven throughout her transient lifestyle, Leticia was fortunate to study at several universities (Texas A&M, University of Maryland, and UW), eventually completing her Master of Social Work and currently working with Veterans at the Seattle VA Medical Center, as they navigate the barriers from homelessness to housing. Intrigued by the interplay between mental health challenges and success in stable housing outcomes, Leticia has decided to return to school once again to complete a Doctoral Program in Counseling Psychology at Northwest University.

In furthering her commitment of helping others in diverse settings, Leticia is especially excited to have met a special ferry friend named Tammi Murray, who graciously extended an invitation one morning on the ferry shuttle to join her for an upcoming trip to visit the Sister Parish in Uganda, Africa. Attracted to Tammi’s sincere devotion to her faith, her family, and her love of the Ugandan people, it was without hesitation that Leticia not only accepted the invite, but also RSVP-ed with her daughter, Annie, to join this third Visiting Delegation to Uganda and Kenya as well. It is with outmost honor and gratitude that Leticia will venture to these distant countries to learn, pray, share, and build ongoing relationships.


Annie Holleman

Annie Holleman is a recent graduate from Washington State University with a BA in Digital Technology & Culture. While her interests include the ever-evolving technological world, her real passion lies in; broadening her cultural perspective, forming meaningful relationships with others, and remaining open-minded to welcoming new experiences in any capacity. During her childhood, due to a father in the Navy, she moved to many different states within the US which taught her that there are small-scale cultural differences that exist even within the US. This has motivated her aspiration to one-day travel outside of the US to and to be immersed in a culture she is completely unfamiliar with. Fortunately, her mother who is also passionate about traveling and serving others, introduced her to an opportunity to join a group of women on the third Visiting Delegation to visit a Sister Parish in Uganda, Africa. This trip will be her first time traveling outside of the country and she is incredibly grateful for this opportunity, eager to serve in this community, and greet all experiences that may be offered with an open heart and mind.