Ugandan bishop was once rejected as an altar boy

Sunday November 24 2019

Msgr Joseph Nsubuga who was appointed new

Msgr Joseph Nsubuga who was appointed new Bishop of Aliwal Diocese in South Africa. PHOTO BY ROBERT MUGAGGA.. 


It was a moment of joy as family members hugged one another last weekend at the home of late the Charles Nsubuga after news filtered through of a family member being appointed Catholic bishop in South Africa where he has been serving as missionary priest.
On Friday November 15, the Vatican announced the appointment of Msgr Joseph Nsubuga, 52 as the new bishop of Aliwal Diocese in South Africa. The office had been vacant since the resignation of Bishop Michael Wusten in 2017.
Msgr Kizito who has served as the diocese Vicar General since 2013 is slated for consecration in three months’ time in a ceremony that is expected to be attended by a big delegation from Uganda and so many others working and residing in South Africa.

A mother’s joy
A thanksgiving mass was held on November 17, at Msgr Kizito’s family home in Wakaliga, Lubaga division in Kampala, with family members and well-wishers expressing joy at the news. The new bishop’s mother Christine Babirye Nsubuga shed tears of joy and praised God for His favour. The ailing Babirye and a former nurse at Mulago Hospital described her son’s appointment as the greatest news she has received in a long time.
Msgr Kizito’s father Charles Nsubuga, alias Kabalega died when the new bishop was attending primary school.
The cleric’s elder brother, Martin Ssempagama was all smiles. “This is great and an early Christmas gift to the family and the whole village,” he said.
The main celebrant, the Rev Fr Emmanuel Kalema from Lubaga Cathedral parish congratulated the family for raising such a great man of God.
“To be selected from the crowd and picked for such an important office while serving in a foreign land is not something that comes easy,” he said.

Another family member amused those around when she recounted that during his childhood Msgr Kizito was at first denied a chance of serving as an altar boy at Lubaga Cathedral, something that hurt him but he continued pleading until he was accepted.
“With a lot of sadness the boy reported his rejection to his parents perturbed that his friends of the same age were being given the chance and not him.”
Msgr. Kizito now becomes the second Ugandan bishop to serve outside the country after Archbishop Augustine Kasujja who is currently the Vatican ambassador to Belgium and dean of all ambassadors in the country. Archbishop Kasujja was the first black African to hold the title of apostolic nuncio (Vatican ambassador) and the first non-European to occupy the Belgium posting.

Kizito left for South Africa in early 1990s after joining the Swaziland-based Servants of Mary congregation which had partly been introduced to Uganda by the Rev Fr Emmanuel Lutaaya with their Ugandan headquarters based at Kisoga, Mukono District. Born on July 2, 1967 in Wakaliga-Lubaga, Kampala, Msgr Joseph Kizito attended Lubaga Boys Primary School before doing both O and A-levels at the nearby Lubiri Secondary School.
He thereafter headed to South Africa where he studied Philosophy at the St. Augustine majaor seminary (Lesotho) and later Theology at St. John Vianney seminary in Pretoria (South Africa). He was ordained priest in South Africa at the age of 30 on September 27, 1997 and incardinated in the diocese of Aliwal. Between 1997 and 1998 he was prochial Vicar of St. Francis Xavier parish, parish priest of St. Augustine parish in Dordrecht (1998-2002), parish priest of Sterkspruit Catholic (2003-2013) and finally rising to the church’s major rank of monsignor and at the same time appointed a Vicar General of Aliwal diocese.