Speaking during the Convocation Ceremony on Aug 27 at the LRC, Msgr Dr. Pius Rutechura outlined several aspects on focus during the new academic Year 2015/16.
First, the VC said that the university was seeking the status of operating as a fully fledged and canonically elected Chaplaincy. He said that this would enhance pastoral ministries and strengthen the base of making CUEA to continue bearing desirable fruits.
He urged all the members of the university to maximize their participation and attendance to spiritual functions. More of the pastoral ministries would be made operational. These include, Spiritual Formation and accompaniment, Worship and Liturgy, Social Concern, Ecumenism and Interfaith.
Msgr Pius also requested everyone to read, internalize and integrate values of Pope Francis’s new encyclical, Laudato Si ‘on the care for our common home’. “We have to care for oneself, neighbour and the institutions we serve as a starting point”, he added.
He urged everyone to embrace a new lifestyle which will liberate us from becoming a seedbed for collective selfishness and embark upon new paths of authentic freedom where disinterested concern for others, and care for our brothers and sisters and for the natural environment is possible.
“What will liberate us and lead us to success is focusing on long range achievements by consciously expanding our mind.” The vice chancellor added.
Further, the VC said that the bright future of CUEA depended on openness to share and shoulder a common vision and building consensus on how to address key issues which will eventually lead to mutual reaping of the fruits of our labour.
Monsignor noted, “I firmly believe that embracing cost effective measures, accompanied by more order and deliberate efforts to raise non tuition income will enable us to increase the size of our cake which we will all share with gratitude and joy.
He informed the staff at the University that the job evaluation and HR audit report was already being implemented and urged all sections to willingly implement the recommendations.
Rutechura revealed some of the measures targeting to harmonise teaching workloads and part time claims. These will include; a) qualified administrative staff to teach two units per year without claiming, b) Faculties and departments to reduce number of units offered, rationalize and streamline courses and units taught (across faculties and departments) so as to reduce part-time claims, c) Ensure that lecturers take full loads before making any claims and extend their service to related faculties.
On security, the VC assured that stringent measures were being undertaken to ensure that our campuses remained safe. This is being worked in collaboration with IBM and will involve the installation of CCTV cameras and other advanced systems.
Further, the VC congratulated CUEA Monks for their great efforts which have seen them rise back to the first league status. He assured students that the university will continue accompanying them in a holistic manner. He further announced that the University was seriously minding international students and had set up a committee to see how to enrich our services to them.
At the beginning of his speech the Vice Chancellor paid glowing tribute to the Rt. Rev. Paul Kalanda, Bishop Emeritus, Fort Portal, Uganda, the first rector of the university, then known as CHIEA (Catholic Higher Institute of Eastern Africa) who passed on on Aug 18.
This year’s convocation ceremony was held on August 27. The chief guest at the event was Bishop Anthony Muheria, Kitui Catholic Diocese and the Apostolic Administrator, Machakos Diocese.
In his speech, Bishop Muheria addressed himself to the issues of Catholic Identity, collective responsibility and the growth of the University. His address was largely inspired by St. John Paul II and Blessed Cardinal Newman. He said that both possessed a deep catholic spirit, and were excellent and sharp minds, true products of University life and outstanding saints.
Bishop Muheria warned against situations whereby students are taught for the sake of passing exams. “If we are only to teach them how to pass exams we would have betrayed the very spirit of University, we would have dehumanized them, “de-perfecting”their very humanity.”
He noted that the Catholic Identity should be seen through transmission of human values and qualities, transforming boys and girls to competent leaders, into virtuous, ethical and upright people, based on the Catholic style.
While further quoting Pope Francis on his new encyclical, Laudato Si, he reminded us not to be enslaved in a Technocracy, where technology dictates life, emptying man of the capacity of relating and engaging nature.
He urged staff and students alike to inculcate in themselves a love and admiration of nature and a great capacity to create human relationships with others and with God.
Bishop Muheria added; we are greatly challenged by the emptying of the capacity to wonder that technology, digital connectedness has produced in society. We seem not to have time, or to have lost the capacity to stand in awe before a sunset or sun rise, or to contemplate the beauty of nature and landscapes, to wonder at the small things around us of nature: the engineering prowess of the ant in the air-conditioned ant hill, the connectedness of nature where a honey seeker, a bird, talks to a badger, an animal. We need to rediscover the beauty of music and discover Beauty itself because it is a doorway to the Truth.
Bishop Muheria is a member of the Board of Trustees of the University after being appointed by the AMECEA Bishops during their plenary in Malawi last year.
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