In final words, Lwanga speaks about death, criticises security

 Archbishop of Kampala Cyprian Kizito Lwanga (centre) joins other clergy at Namirembe Cathedral during the Way of The Cross on Good Friday. PHOTO/STEPHEN OTAGE

Kampala Archbishop, Dr Cyprian Kizito Lwanga, had a lively participation in the public Way of the Cross on Good Friday, but to the shock of everyone, he never woke up from his sleep. He was 68. Our correspondent, Ritah Kemigisa, brings the prelate’s last public words, which he spoke on behalf of Uganda Joint Christian Council (UJCC), at the Anglican Namirembe Cathedral in Kampala.

“My message will be in three parts; the first part is for appreciation, the second one is on the history of the Uganda Joint Christian Council (UJCC), which organises this event of Good Friday every year, and the third will be our joint Easter message as religious leaders under the Council.

I wish to thank God almighty for his goodness and for having sent us his son, our Lord Jesus Christ…

So, we thank Jesus for having gone to the Cross for each one of us present. Many people have written about the cross and many preachers have done the same.

But let me share with you briefly one of the historical people who wrote about the Cross in the 30th century. [It] is none other than my patron, Saint Cyprian.
When I celebrated my Silver Jubilee as a priest, I made a pilgrimage to his birth place and work place in Carthage, which is in Tunisia and the place is called Alaba.

And this is what he says about the cross; the cross is the identity of all of us as Christians. Jesus died for us and he endured five wounds in his body, you see when the Archbishop was blessing us, he used five fingers.

When we bless, we use give fingers and they are the significance of that, the five fingers are remembrance of the five wounds [that] Jesus endured between the palms, legs and also the one on the sides.

Since the cross is our identity, when we touch here (the forehead) we ask God to bless our thoughts, when we touch the chest, that’s where the heart is, we ask God to bless our hearts and when we touch the arms, we are asking the lord to bless our works. Allow me in capital letters to thank our dear preacher, His Grace Archbishop Steven Kaziimba, for the nice homily that he has given us.

… we shall go home knowing very well that Jesus Christ came so that we may have life to its fullness and because of him, he died for you and for me.

About UJCC
Somebody sometime back asked me when you talk about UJCC, what do you mean? It means Uganda Joint Christian Council.

And how did it start? The year after we got independence [from Britain], in 1963, the late Archbishop His Grace Leslie Brown who was here, Archbishop Joseph Kiwanuka and Metropolitan Theodoros Nakyama came together and thought of starting UJCC to provide a forum to articulate and address issues of common concern of Christians including peace building, education, health, mediation, consensus building, conflict transformation, mediation and negotiation, democracy, social rights, good ,capacity building for other civil society organisations (CSOs),  advocacy, communication, social and economic justice.

I want to thank the late Archbishop Brown, Archbishop Kiwanuka and Metropolitan Nakyama for having had this great vision because we are what we are today because of them. They wanted us to be united.

A lot has been achieved by this joint council, teaching people about their development, national civic education programmes and joint ecumenical committees in the entire country.
UJCC Easter message
We wish you God’s blessings as you celebrate Easter. Easter gives us hope of restoration and is the basis of our faith in God’s mighty power to bring to life what has been snatched by the devil.

Even in the midst of death, death of a loved one, a relative or a friend and consequences of sin, there is hope for our resurrection and restoration.

We have lost many people during the Covid-19 pandemic … may God grant them eternal rest. Covid19 is real and let’s follow all the existing Standard Operation Procedures  and immunisation.

Some people are still scared of getting immunised. I am asking the government to explain to people via Television, radio and newspapers about this vaccine so that people can know what they are taking so that the fear among people is dealt with.

We are also deeply saddened by the passing on of the true pan-African leader, the late John Pombe Magufuli, the former president of Tanzania. We mourn with our Tanzanian brothers and sisters at this time. ..

The good works [that] the late Magufuli did for Tanzania and our region will not be forgotten. May his soul rest in eternal peace. In the same vein, we congratulate Her Excellency Samia Suluhu Hassan upon her installation as the 6th president of Tanzania. The smooth transition of power at this critical time is a great lesson for all of us. We wish her a fruitful term in office.

Peace and security
As members of the UJCC, our major role and aim is to work towards greater mutual understanding and unity of purpose.

As shepherds and senior citizens of this country, we are deeply concerned about the actions of some security forces in relation to the ongoing disappearances of some of our people, especially the youth.

This is brewing anger, division, fear and anxiety among the population. It totally contravenes the human rights frameworks to which we are signatory as a country.

We are troubled that a disregard of these God-given rights and freedoms shall weaken our social fibre of harmony, social cohesion and responsive leadership.
We also note with concern the ungodly actions of some Ugandans who have been killing innocent people .. . We therefore, call upon urgently all Ugandans and security forces to respect human life and the fundamental right to life.

We should all remember that each one of us will be judged by our works and actions by God almighty. So, action should be geared at building a beautiful Uganda and promoting peace and justice and reconciliation at all levels.

As religious leaders we are called upon to strengthen the spiritual and moral fibre of our nation so that we all live in obedience to God, shun violence, hatred and other forms of immorality.

We are also called to lead by good example and sow seeds of justice and peace and to awaken society whenever it is deviated from these ideals.

Jesus came to show us the right way, how to live in this human family and to live in such a way God intended when God created this universe. During his time on earth, he taught us to pray, to forgive each other and to reconcile with one another.

He taught us the greatest commandment is to love God and our neighbour as we love ourselves (Mark 12: 13-31). We end by wishing you a happy Easter and all this has been written for our God and our country.”

Burial plans
Monday, April 5: Mass at Rubaga Cathedral at 2pm

Tuesday:  Mass at   Kyabakadde (Lugazi Diocese) starting at midday 

Wednesday: Funeral mass at Namugongo Catholic Shrine starting at 10am .

Thursday: Burial at Rubaga 

See related story on Pages 4,5,6,7,8 &9 Daily Monitor News paper, April 05, 2021