Defense Date


Graduation Date

Fall 2011


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name





McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Committee Chair

Maureen O'Brien

Committee Member

Sean P. Kealy

Committee Member

Eugene E. Uzukwu


African traditional religions, Ecology, Inculturation, Pope John Paul II, Sacraments, Youth ministry


This dissertation is titled: Theological and Ecological Foundations for Youth Ministry in Relation to the Archdiocese of Mbarara, Uganda - East Africa. The Archdiocese of Mbarara, located in the traditional kingdom of Nkore in southwestern Uganda, is undergoing societal shift. Due to the pervading influences of Western civilization and technology, the conservative and often static culture of native tribal communities with their adherence to informal education, traditional customs and worship and a predominantly agrarian economy, is undergoing steady but dramatic transformation. Amidst this process of transition, the Church is struggling with the immediate need to adjust the message and methods of its pastoral ministry, especially to the youth who are most easily allured and impacted by new waves of change.

This dissertation, concerned with ministering to the youth of the Archdiocese of Mbarara, employs a practical theology approach under the field of pastoral ministry in systematic theology, analyzes African Traditional Religious (ATR) and cultural heritage in Mbarara and advocates for inculturation theology. To inspire responses of faith among the youth, it emphasizes theological foundations in Christian doctrine and ATR that teach about God who takes the initiative of love by creating and sustaining all life. The dissertation recalls the basics of faith: the revelation of the Triune God through sacred scripture, sacred tradition, and the teaching authority of the Church (Magisterium). These fundamentals of faith are presented in a manner that encourages human response to God's initiative through the sacraments, prayer and committed lives.

Ecological foundations as presented in this dissertation aim at illuminating God's handiwork in the youths' own physical, spiritual, psychological and social human nature; and of their unique ecological relationship and call to responsible living as human beings within the biosphere of God's Creation.

The theological and ecological concepts that form the core of this dissertation aim at helping youth ministers, parents and the youth to develop upon those foundations a holistic and meaningful (youth) ministry for the youth of the Archdiocese of Mbarara.