The retired bishop of Mbarara Archdiocese Rt. Rev. John Baptist Kakubi has passed on. Bishop Kakubi died at Kampala Hospital, yesterday at around 12.30 PM, Sr. Germina Keneema, the Executive Secretary for Social Communications for Mbarara Archdiocese told Daily Monitor.
She said the hospital had not yet released a medical report regarding the cause of the first African Bishop for the diocese of Mbarara.
“He [the Bishop] died at 12:30pm. He will be buried in Mbarara,” Sr. Keneema said. According to officials from the Mbarara Archdiocese, there will be a requiem mass on Friday at Rubaga Cathedral at 10:00am, and burial will be on Saturday at St. Joseph’s Vocational school in Nyamitanga, a school founded by the late bishop.
Dr Gaston Ampe, the chairman of Archdiocese of Mbarara Development Association (AMDA) an umbrella association uniting all Catholics that hail from Mbarara, said in a statement issued on Thursday afternoon that Bishop Kakubi was a gift from God.
“We unite with and extend our deepest sympathies to the Archbishop Paul K. Bakyenga and the entire Archdiocese of Mbarara Catholic fraternity and all the people of God who have witnessed the very fruitful life of the beloved Bishop. We deeply thank God for the grand gift he gave to us in Bishop Emeritus JB Kakubi and we celebrate his life. We pray that God Almighty rests his soul in eternal peace,” Dr Ampe said.
“His immense contribution towards God’s Kingdom in Mbarara is invaluable. We are forever grateful for the thought to start St. Joseph’s Vocational School, which has nurtured some of the great leaders of our times and continues to do so for future leaders,” said Ferdinand Katatumba, the chairman of St. Joseph’s Vocational School, Old Boys Association.
Bishop Kakubi was born on September 23, 1929 in Birunduma parish, Bukanga in present Isingiro district. He was ordained priest in 1960. He served as Bishop Mbarara Diocese from 1969-1991, when he took early retirement due to ill health.
He is among other several other achievements credited for founding St. Joseph’s Vocational School located at the diocese headquarters in Nyamitanga Mbarara, which is one of the top schools in Uganda, and emphasises a teaching blended with practical subjects.
Bishop Kakubi was among the four Bishops consecrated during the visit of Pope Paul VI to Uganda in 1969, together with Edward Baharagate and bishops Barnabas Halem Imana and Sarapio Magambo – both deceased.
He was at the time of his appointment as a Bishop, serving as the rector at Kitabi Seminary, in Bushenyi. In his Memoirs, Bishop Kakubi wrote that he had rejected the appointment as Bishop, until the Papal Nuncio asked him to remember his priestly vows.
“Twice I refused. At the third time he [the Nuncio] referred me to the promise I made at my priestly ordination, to obey the Ordinary and his successors. He said the Pope now, my Supreme Ordinary, was asking me to carry out this worthy apostolic work of shepherding God’s people in Mbarara.”