Two churches fight to host Catholic bishop

Wednesday August 21 2019

Committed. Soroti Catholic Diocese Bishop

Committed. Soroti Catholic Diocese Bishop Joseph Eciru Oliach with Christians at Atutur Catholic Church in Kumi District in May. PHOTO BY YAHUD KITUNZI 

By David Oduut

Two churches in Malera Sub-county, Bukedea District, are locked in a feud over who should host the new Bishop of Soroti Catholic Diocese.

Bishop Joseph Oliach Echiru is set to make his first official visit to Bukedea next month where he is scheduled to confirm about 300 children in Malera Sub-county.

However, disagreements have cropped up between Christians of Kachonga Catholic Church and those of Kabarwa Catholic Church, with each seeking to host the bishop.

“We were the first to be chosen to host the bishop but I am shocked to learn that the venue has since been shifted to Kachonga Catholic Church,” Ms Christine Morinyang, a choir member at Kabarwa Catholic Church, said.

According to Mr Stephen Okurut, the chairperson of organising committee for the Bishop’s visit, Christians and the clergy in Bukedea Parish had earlier agreed that Kabarwa Catholic Church be the host venue.

He accused a section of Christians in Kachonga of maligning them before the parish priest, a reason their church was dropped from hosting the bishop.

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“It is sad to know that a section of Christians in Kachonga rode bicycles up to the parish to report that our church was too small to host a bishop,” Mr Okurut said.

Those in Kachonga also swore that they will not take their children for confirmation if the venue is taken to Kabarwa.

In a meeting held on July 24 at Bukedea Parish headquarters in Okunguro, catechists and lay readers in Bukedea unanimously agreed that Kabarwa Catholic Church hosts Bishop Eciru.

But Kachonga Zonal coordinator Alex Okello, during a meeting on Saturday said Kabarwa was stripped of the privilege to host the bishop over an ongoing land dispute.

“The Bishop was notified that Kabarwa Catholic Church is currently locked up in a land dispute with Kabarwa High School and that even the church building has been overtaken by the school, which has since turned it into a dormitory,” Mr Okello told the meeting amid protests from Kabarwa Christians.

“So Kachonga has been chosen instead,” he added.

Father Emmanuel Alucia, the chief priest of Bukedea Catholic Mission, confirmed the new change of venue, saying he is set to meet Kabarwa Christians to help resolve the land issue.

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