What you need to know:
- The 65-year-old, who arrived at Rubaga Cathedral at exactly 10am, received a heroic welcome accompanied by solemn prayers and ululation from the congregation as the joint Rubaga Cathedral choir that played melodious hymns.
The new Kampala Archbishop Paul Ssemogerere was yesterday installed amid pomp and grandeur at Rubaga Cathedral.
The 65-year-old, who arrived at Rubaga Cathedral at exactly 10am, received a heroic welcome accompanied by solemn prayers and ululation from the congregation as the joint Rubaga Cathedral choir that played melodious hymns.
Because attendance inside the Cathedral was strictly by invitation, tents were erected outside and believers took advantage of closed –circuit televisions (CCTVs) installed outside the church to catch a glimpse of the historic moment that was rich with pageantry.
The official service at the Cathedral kicked off with a procession of clergy leading the bishop to the altar to receive blessings and prayers for the position.
Filled with guests from all walks of life that included archbishops, bishops, reverend fathers, government dignitaries, politicians, Opposition leaders, religious leaders from other dominations, the consecration process began with Fr Pius Male, the chancellor of Kampala Archdiocese, reading out loud Pope John Paul 11’s letter of appointment, in Latin, to the congregation, which messages were later translated to English and language.
The archbishop, clad in embroidered golden yellow and cream cassock, was led to a special seat at the front of the Cathedral, where the traditional ceremonial headgear (mitre) was placed on his head to signify his new position and a crosier handed to him as a symbol of his governing office.
The process was then followed by a sermon from the new archbishop.
While delivering his first homily to the congregants, the archbishop accepted his new role and took time to thank everyone for their support, including Pope Francis, who appointed him and the people of Kasana-Luweero Diocese, where he was previously serving as bishop.
“For united we stand and divided we fall. I am convinced this is one of the primary roads that we travel together as Ugandans in view of our national motto, for God and My Country,” Archbishop Ssemogerere said.
He replaces the late Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga, who passed away in April last year.
He also acknowledged the works of the late Lwanga and promised to continue his work.
He urged everyone to build great solidarity even in diversity of political affiliations and cultural differences.
The new archbishop also took time to acknowledge that although life comes with its own challenges, including trials involved in promoting the dignity of humanity, the continued struggle to adopt the new normal during and after the Covid-19 pandemic, the continued search for equitable distribution of wealth, and unemployment, especially among the youth, it is important to face them (problems) by not being afraid about them.
“I have come to encourage you that many of these challenges seem to raise against us to the point of paralysing us, but in such conditions, let us use the pastoral slogan, of the Kampala Archdiocese for this year, do not fear,” Archbishop Ssemogerere said.
He appealed to Ugandans to continue protecting their land so as not to become wanderers.
Among the leaders who congratulated the new archbishop was President Museveni.
In his speech that was read by Vice President Jessica Alupo, he said as a shepherd of God’s people, he now bore a dual responsibility towards them.
“Firstly, you have the responsibility of gathering a big harvest of souls for God’s kingdom through evangelism teaching, counselling and prayer. This involves calling upon your congregation to live according to the biblical teachings and taking a firm stand against biblical practices in society, such as corruption, segregation, injustices and domestic violence,” the President said.
“However, besides spiritual guardianship, you are also tasked with the responsibility of promoting the social economic transformation agenda among the faithful in your archdiocese. Some believers are mistaken to think that the gospel has no concern with earthly issues. They neglect their lives claiming that they are just passers-by on a journey to heaven. This is a wrong teaching that religious leaders should correct,” the President added.
He then implored the faithful to work towards improving their livelihood and household incomes. President Museveni gave the archbishop a brand new car, a Land Cruiser Prado.
Meanwhile, Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi, in his speech that was read by his brother, Prince David Wasajja, said: “As you start the task as the archbishop, we are going to pray for you. We are confident that you will fulfil the ministry’s works because of God’s grace and the leadership precedence that was set by the archbishops who came before you.”
The Katikkiro of Buganda, Mr Charles Peter Mayiga, said when the kingdom and Church work in cooperation, it will enhance many social benefits to the people.
The organising committee invited about 1,000 guests as a way of observing the Covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs).
The event ended at 2.50pm, with guests taking pictures with Archbishop Ssemogerere.
Christians speak out
Mr Edmond Ssesanga, a Christian and resident of Kasana Town, said they will miss the archbishop dearly and are looking forward to a new one, who should follow his footsteps.
Mr Charles Ssebyala, the leader of the laity at Kasana Cathedral parish, said the seat of the bishop remains empty until the diocese gets a new bishop.
“It is true that while we have the Church leaders to steer the diocese programmes, the diocese needs a bishop. The bishop’s seat remains vacant until another bishop is posted,” he said.
Journey from Luweero
By 5.50am, the Archbishop was already at the Kasana- Luweero Adoration Chapel where he performed his last prayers as Bishop of Luweero before being accompanied by the Kasana-Luweero Diocesan Vicar General, Fr Francis Xavier Mpanga, to the Queen of Peace Cathedral, Kasana-Luweero Diocese for the morning prayers at 6am.
Unlike the many Church sermons where the bishop has to take the official seat at the pulpit, the seat was this time wrapped with a green piece of cloth and remained empty. The archbishop took a different seat off the pulpit. This was a clear sign that Kasana-Luweero Diocese had no bishop after the appointment of Bishop Ssemwogerere as the Archbishop of Kampala Archdiocese.
At 6.20, the priests led by the Vicar General of the Diocese and the Kasana-Luweero Diocese Chancellor Rev Fr Cyril Kasigwa went to the pulpit for a farewell prayer and blessing of the Archbishop.
At 6:30 the Archbishop bid farewell to the priests, church workers and the Sisters and school children as he joined a waiting motorcade for the Kampala 57km journey for the installation service.
At 9.25am, the archbishop’s convoy was already at the Kampala Archdiocese headquarters for the installation service.