Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | His Grace Dr. Paul Ssemogerere, the newly installed Kampala Archbishop has maintained the leadership structure and personnel left by his predecessor the late Dr. Cyprian Kizito Lwanga with promises of steering the Archdiocese to greater heights.
When Lwanga died, all priests right from the Episcopal Vicars to leaders of different directorates and departments lost their authority, which they drew from the fallen ordinary.
The then Episcopal Vicar Msrg. Kasibante working together with the Archdiocesan Chancellor led the diocese for three days following Lwanga’s demise. The Vicar relinquished office when then Bishop of Kasana-Luweero, Paul Ssemogerere took over as the Apostolic administrator.
The Apostolic administrator led the Archdiocese with the help of delegates to different vicariates, parishes, directorates, and departments, given the fact that the administrator has only vicarious powers.
Moments after his installation as the fourth Archbishop of Kampala, all priests pledged their obedience and allegiance to the new Archbishop as they promised while being ordained, “I will serve you (the then ordinary) and those who will come after you.”
At the end of the eucharist mass, Archbishop Ssemogerere reappointed all the priests to their previous offices and roles with immediate effect.
The announcement means that Msgr Charles Kasibante Kalumba is now the Vicar-General – the principal deputy of the Archbishop, Msrg Gerald Kalumba is the second Vicar General and parish priest at Christ the King, Kampala. Rev Fr. Dr. Puis Male remains the Archdiocesan Chancellor and Rev. Fr Dr. Joseph Sserugga as the pastoral coordinator among others.
The new Archbishop has the powers to appoint those he thinks can help him execute his duties with ease and in many cases, some choose to make changes and transfer priests as they declare the new dawn. Some of the priests who asked to remain anonymous to freely comment on Ssemogerere’s move say the Archbishop wants to give everyone a chance to show their potential given the fact that most of the priests had just assumed power in 2020 following changes that were introduced by the former Archbishop.
“He wants to take time studying the situation before he makes his appointments and this might take time. That’s what I think but there might be another reason behind the move as avoiding conflicts that could develop with instant transfer of priests,” the source said.
However, another priest thought that during the period he has been the archdiocesan administrator, he might have found out that the leadership structure left by Archbishop Lwanga is good. “He has been here for a year. And there were no big changes. He was working with the same team as many were maintained as delegates,” he said.
Ssemogerere is no stranger to Kampala having served in many capacities in the Archdiocese from 1983 until 2008 when he was elected Bishop of Kasana-Luwero. In simple terms, one would say that he knows the Archdiocese in and out having seen it develop from its first Archbishop elected in 1966 to the most recent one.
Meanwhile, in his first Eucharist celebration, Ssemogerere said the conversion of St. Paul, who is his patron saint gives him guidance, courage, and support to take on the role, which he says is full of challenge but with God’s grace, allegiance to the Holy See with help of the clergy, religious and the lay apostolic.
Recalling the donation of land which hosts the seat of Lubaga Cathedral by Kabaka Muteesa I, the Archbishop implored the faithful to always value land and jealously protect it. Many people including fellow bishops, clergy and religious leaders of the lay apostolic, delegates from central government, and Buganda kingdom congratulated the new Archbishop and promised to work closely with him.
Every speaker was showing confidence that the late Lwanga’s successor will fulfill his pastoral duties. In his message delivered by Vice president Jessica Alupo, President Yoweri Museveni who noted Archbishop Ssemogerere is the new campus for the society courted him to implore the faithful to improve their livelihoods as they seek the kingdom of God.
President Museveni also donated a brand-new car to the Archbishop promising corporation between the state and the church.