It was a sombre mood at Masaka Catholic Diocese on Friday as the faithful lowered the casket of the longest serving priest in the diocese.
Aged 92, Rev Fr Sebastian Mpagi, spent 63 years in priesthood after being ordained on December 9, 1956, making him the longest serving priest in Masaka Diocese.
Fr Mpagi was born on November, 11, 1927 in Kingo Sub-county, Lwengo District to Mr Joseph Kiwanuka and Ms Martha Naakiko.
During the requiem mass at Kitovu Parish, many relatives, nuns, priests, and believers joined in to celebrate the life of a man who gave hope and deliverance to Christians.
Masaka Diocesan Bishop Emeritus John Baptist Kaggwa, who led the Mass, praised the deceased as an extraordinary priest, who had love for children, development and education.
“Rev Fr Mpagi was a self-driven priest who has been a role model to many priests, his love for children, especially seeing them attend school, is beyond human description,” Bishop Kaggwa said.
Service at Kitasa Parish
He said while the deceased was serving at Kitasa Parish in Bukomansimbi District, he physically participated in building many schools.
“In his youthful age, the deceased was a brickmaker and a hunter. He used the bricks to champion construction of schools. His contribution is vividly evident in every area he served,” Bishop Kaggwa said.
Rev Fr Edward Ssekabanja, the chancellor of Masaka Diocese, said by the time of his death, the late had been battling eye infections and high blood pressure.
“After losing his sight in 1979, he continued to serve as usual but as he advanced in age in 2017, his health deteriorated further,” Fr Ssekabanja said.
Rev Fr Benjamin Kyanda of Kitasa Parish where the deceased served for a long time, said Fr Mpagi was a darling to education because even after being blind, he continued to show interest in schools.
“Although he was blind, one would hardly know due to his resilience and hard work while performing his duties. Most priests would doubt his condition.
One day, someone asked me whether he was really blind because he would ably move around his house and do various kinds of work without aid,” Rev Fr Kyanda said.
He said the deceased’s pride was in helping the needy and serving God.
Rev Fr Sebastian Mpagi was born on November 11, 1927. His studied his early primary education at Nkoni Primary School in Kingo Sub-county Lwengo District before joining Bukalasa Major Seminary in 1944 up to 1947.
He later joined Katigondo Minor Seminary in Kalungu District from 1948 to 1955 where he studied Philosophy.
He was ordained a deacon in 1955 at Katigondo and later a priest on December 9, 1956 at Villa Maria in Masaka.
Rev Fr Mpagi has been a priest for 63 years and served in various parishes before breathing his last on Wednesday.
After ordination in 1956, he served in Kitasa Parish, Bukomansimbi District, from 1956-1964 before being transferred to Kijukizo Parish in Lyantonde District from 1965-1972.
While at Kijukizo, he developed eye problems and was sent to Italy for treatment in 1978 and stayed there up to 1979.
On his return, he completely lost sight but continued serving.
His service continued to Kabuwoko in Masaka where he served from 1979 to 1985 before heading to Kyamuribwa in Kalungu District from 1986 to 1992.
He was sent back to Kitasa from 1992 to 2017 before he was brought to Rest House in Kitovu.
He has been in Rest House since then.