Uganda’s Catholic dioceses notified of limited stock of altar wine for Mass

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ACI Africa, May 7, 2024 / 13:32 pm

Catholic dioceses in Uganda have been notified of a limited stock of wine for Masses due to delays in shipping. 

In an April 30 letter to financial administrators of Uganda’s various episcopal sees, the leadership of J.W. Interservices Ltd., a company under the auspices of the Uganda Episcopal Conference that is involved in the procurement and shipment of wine alongside other goods and services, provided details of the altar wine shortage. 

“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 canceled,” wrote Father Asiku Alfred Tulu, the director of J.W. Interservices Ltd.

“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 [Kenya],” Tulu explained.

The diversion of the ships to longer and safer routes, he said, “has affected the arrival of Mass wine, which we had expected to be here at the beginning of April.”

“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 priest said. 

Catholic priests in Ugandan parishes and institutions have been urged to “regulate the use of wine as much as possible.”

Tulu  apologized for “any inconveniences caused by this unforeseen situation.” 

According to canon law, Mass must be celebrated with the use of wheat bread and grape wine to which a small quantity of water is to be added.

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

In an interview with the Ugandan Monitor news outlet, Father Ronnie Mubiru of St. Jude Wakiso Parish in the Kampala Archdiocese said he had received the notification regarding the possible altar wine shortage in the country.

In the report of the interview published Monday, May 6, Mubiru is quoted as saying that while the parish has some stock that can last several weeks, “if the wine we have in stock gets finished, we shall talk to the diocese; they know better how that issue will be resolved.”

This story was first published by ACI Africa, CNA’s news partner in Africa, and has been adapted by CNA.

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