Friendship Begins on the Journey...

Our Lady Star of the Sea formed a sister parish relationship with Mary, Queen 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 Mary, Queen 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 (April 23, 2017),  Mary, Mother of the Church was changed to Mary, Queen 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.

Mary Queen 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. Ambrose Kibuuka, and an assistant priest, Fr. Augustine Kahiigi. (Fr. Reuben Mubangizi has been appointed a position at Kabale Diocese)

Mary, Queen 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, Queen 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. 

Current/Future Projects


  • Student Sponsorships – Medical
  • Internet System – St. Mathias Nyakishenyi Vocational Secondary School
  • Solar Power for Computer Classroom – St. Mathias Nyakishenyi Vocational Secondary School
  • Children’s Books & Literature – 14 primary schools and 2 secondary schools
  • Reusable Feminine Hygiene Kits


  • Maternity & Imaging Services Ward Construction – Nyakishenyi Catholic Health Centre III
  • Purchase voltage converters and upgrade Power at Nyakishenyi Catholic Health Centre to accommodate x-ray and ultrasound machines
  • Mama Kits for OB Patients – Nyakishenyi Catholic Health Centre III
  • Solar Power for New Ward – Nyakishenyi Catholic Health Centre III
  • Reusable Feminine Hygiene Kits (Heavy Flow Kits for OB Patients) – Nyakishenyi Catholic Health Centre III (Next delivery scheduled for late 2019)
  • Ultrasound Machine – Nyakishenyi Catholic Health Centre (UPDATE: Received Ultrasound Machine from Providence St. Joseph Global Partnerships June 2018, hoping to ship June 2019)
  • Wheelchairs for disabled persons (UPDATE: Received 18 donated wheelchairs, hoping to obtain additional wheelchairs to ship June 2019)


  • Rainwater Storage Systems –
    • St. Jerome Ndama Secondary School – (UPDATE: Installation completed on October 26, 2018)
    • Nyabishaki (Tank Team #1) and Kabalanga (Tank Team #2)
    • Kajumiro (Parish Centre)
    • Kamuko and Butare
  • Water Tank Repair and Rain Gutter Installation
    • Katonya Primary School
    • Mabindi Church
    • Nyarubale Church

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)


  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.

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, Queen of Martyrs, Nyakishenyi Parish! Our 5th Visiting delegation to our Sister Parish is scheduled for late 2019. We are in the beginning stages of planning our next visit. The deadline to sign-up to join our visiting delegation is March 31, 2019. 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, Queen of Martyrs, Nyakishenyi Parish
℅ Bishop’s House
P.O. Box 200
E-Mail Addresses:
Fr. Ambrose Kibuuka, Pastor of Mary, Queen of Martyrs, Nyakishenyi Parish – or

Fr. Reuben Mubangizi, Resource Mobiliser and Diocesan Pastoral Coordinator, Kabale Diocese-

Fr. Justus Lucas Kiiza, Pastor of Mary, Mother of the Church, Nyamwegabira Parish –

Ministry Updates:

Join Our Sister Parish Ministry's Sewing Group:

Feminine Hygiene kits



All meetings will take place at 10:00AM at Laurie Gatzke’s house.
Call or text 360-649-1659 for directions and to RSVP.

Upcoming Sew n’ Sew Dates: 

  • TBD

The Sew n’ Sews’ next focus will be on making reusable feminine hygiene kits for students in our Sister Parish in Uganda. Our goal is to distribute reusable feminine hygiene kits to girls in the upper grades of some of the primary schools in our Sister Parish later this year.

Donations to purchase supplies and help with shipping costs are always needed!

This sewing group is open to everyone, Catholic & non-Catholic alike – invite a friend!
Sister Parish Ministry activities are ALWAYS family-friendly!