The Kampala Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga has issued a decree guiding the proper celebration of Eucharist as well as introducing work contracts for Priests in the new sweeping changes in the Archdiocese.
The Director of the Social Communications Department of Kampala Archdiocese, Fr Joseph Mukasa Nkeera, has since confirmed the development revealing that the directives were issued during a high-level meeting with the clergy and senior executive committees of parishes at Rubaga Cathedral in Kampala on Saturday.
Fr Nkeera says that every priest will be required to serve for three years in any given parish, school or area. From there, his contract can then be renewed for another three years, after which he will be transferred to another area. He said no priest will be allowed to serve beyond two three-year tenures at a parish.
“Yes, the decision was made and it is to be implemented effectively,” said Fr Nkeera who however never wanted to disclose the factors behind the changes. “This is not something new, it has been the practice in many other areas though it is not popular in Uganda,” he added.
He added that the directive is only limited to Kampala Archdiocese. He further pointed out that Christians should not be confused about the jurisdiction of Kampala Archdiocese with that of the ecclesiastical province of Kampala since the two are different.
In a similar development, the Archbishop also highlighted that the holy sacrament of Eucharist which the Catholic Church honours as one of her most exalted mysteries, has been greatly abused with several rogue practices that have been rather becoming normal.
According to the communication sent out to all parishes, Archbishop Lwanga in conformity with the liturgical and canonical norms of the Church which requires him to fend off abuses in the liturgical life of the Church, issued five decrees noting that they must be followed with immediate effect.
The decree has made it illegal to receive the Holy Communion in the hands. Archbishop Lwanga says that although the church holds the Holy Eucharist in the highest honour, there have been many reported instances of dishonouring the Eucharist that has been associated with its reception.
“It is fitting to return to the more reverent method of receiving the Eucharist on the tongue,” the Archbishop ordered. In some circumstances, the Catholics more so the children who have been receiving the Eucharist in hands could instead take it or part of it to play around with it than eating it which is contrary to the teachings of the Church.
The decree further guides members of the faith who have not been designated as an extraordinary minister of the communion to stop it, and also halting the celebration of the Eucharist in a non-sacred place unless grave necessity requires otherwise.
At St Joseph Parish in Nansana where the document was read amid silence, it was noted that they have been further guided that Sunday mass will not be conducted in private homes unless it has been granted so by the parish priest.
“On other days, for you to have mass celebrated in your home, the head of that home and his family must receive the Eucharist. Moreover, to avoid scandals, the Eucharist is not to be celebrated in the homes of people in such a situation,” the laity publicity read the document quoting the Archbishop.
The directive also reminds the faithful living in illicit marital cohabitation and those who persist in any grave and manifest sin, not to receive Holy Communion. He further warned the priests and deacons who are not properly vested in the prescribed liturgical vestments to neither concelebrate nor assist the distribution of Holy Communion.
During the reign of Pope John Paul II, the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments singled out 28 “grave matters” which put at risk the validity and dignity of the Holiest Eucharist. The 65-page instruction, titled the Sacrament of Redemption approved by the pontiff pointed out some abuses more so the grave crimes against the Eucharist are treated as crimes in church law with serious ecclesiastical penalties attached.