Mbarara. Hundreds of Catholic faithful from Mbarara Archdiocese thronged Nyamitanga hill at the weekend to bid farewell to Bishop Emeritus John Baptist Kakubi.
Bishop Kakubi died at Kampala International Hospital last Thursday at the age of 87.
His requiem Mass started at mid-day at Nyamitanga Cathedral led by Archbishop Paul Bakyenga. It was five hours of prayers and tributes before Bishop Kakubi’s body was interred at St Joseph’s Vocational School Chapel, as per his wish, at 5pm.
Archbishop Bakyenga said the deceased bishop was very proud of having started St Joseph’s Vocational School, the 35-year-old institution that has produced reputable professionals, including priests, doctors and lawyers. He said the school old boys informed the church that Bishop Kakubi made a wish that he should be buried at the school and that when they checked records, they indeed found it in writing.
Archbishop Bakyenga said he had to consult the Pope’s representative, who okayed it. “Had he not wished (that he should be buried at St Joseph’s), he would have been buried in the cathedral here,” said the archbishop. Catholic bishops are buried in a church or chapel.
Bishops Vincent Kirabo (elect-Hoima Diocese), John Baptist Kaggwa (Masaka Diocese), Callist Rubaramira (Kabale Diocese), Robert Muhirwa (Fort Portal), Egidio Nkaijanabo (Kasese), Lambert Bainomugisha (Auxiliary-Mbarara) and Edward Baharagate (Emeritus-Hoima) attended the burial.
Religious heads from other faiths, including Ankole Anglican Diocese Bishop Sheldon Mwesigwa, Mbarara District Kadhi Sheikh Ramadhan Khamis and his predecessor Sheikh Abdu Noor Kaduyu attended.
“I stayed with Bishop Kakubi for long. He was far sighted about things that would help the Catholic Church; he was very humble. He would say ‘me (Kakubi) from Birunduma (village) to get such an honour (title of Bishop)?” said Archbishop Bakyenga.He added that the late was prayerful, hardworking and wanted to champion good things.
In his tribute, Mr Gervase Ndyanabo, the head of laity Mbarara Archdiocese, said Bishop Kakubi was one of the greatest human beings he has met. “He is my role model priest. I want to ask priests, if you ever get stuck on how to deal with or handle something, ask yourself what Bishop Kakubi would do about it (if faced with the same),” he said.
“He made us love the Eucharist. He was good at teaching and explaining essence of the Eucharist,” he said.
About bishop Kakubi
Birth and education. He was born on September 23, 1929, at Kyanda, Rugaaga, Birunduma Parish present Isingiro District to Rafael Ziridamu and Candida Kiremire. He studied at Birunduma Primary School, Nyamitanga Primary School, Kitabi Seminary in Bushenyi, Katigondo Major Seminary in Masaka, St Edmund’s Allen Hall, England, and Claver House, London.
Orders. 1957-1958 Probation: Nyakibale and Rushoroza Parishes.
• May 20, 1959 Sub-Diaconate: St. Edmund’s College.
• September 23, 1959 Diaconate: St. Edmund’s College.
• June 11, 1960 Priesthood: West Minister Cathedral London.
Appointments. Nyamitanga Parish: Curate and In charge of Social Apostolic for Ankole region.
• Katigondo Major Seminary: Teacher and Formator.
• Nyamitanga Administrator: Diocesan Secretary and in charge of Lay Apostolate.
• Nyamitanga Parish: Parish Priest.
• Kitabi Seminary: Rector
• On July 5 1969, he was appointed Ordinary of Mbarara Diocese
• August 1, 1969, he was ordained Bishop at Kololo Airstrip-Kampala
• September 7, 1969 he was installed Ordinary of Mbarara
• In 1980, he started St. Joseph’s and St. Cecilia Vocational Schools
• In 1991 he retired at Ibanda Priests House. He served as a priest of the Archdiocese of Mbarara for 55 years and 47 as Bishop.