Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Catholic Church in Uganda has eulogized Archbishop Denis Lote Kiwanuka.
Archbishop Kiwanuka, who was the first Bishop of Kotido Diocese and the second Metropolitan of Tororo Archdiocese, passed away on Sunday morning at Nsambya hospital where he had been admitted for weeks battling several illnesses.
On Tuesday, Catholics gathered at Lubaga Cathedral to pray and remember the great works he did for the church and the people that he served. Speaker after speaker eulogized the deceased as a humble, quiet but serious and caring person.
While giving the homily, Kiyinda-Mityana Bishop Dr. Joseph Antony Zziwa, who doubles as the chairperson of the Uganda Episcopal Conference, noted that from birth, Archbishop Kiwanuka grew by grace of God having lost his parents when he was still too young.
“The late Archbishop was raised as an orphan by the little sisters of Mary. He lost his father three months before he was born and his mother passed away when he was one month and three weeks. From that humble background, he rose to heights. He served as a priest for a solid 57 years,” Dr. Zziwa noted.
Bishop Zziwa added that Kiwanuka lived by God’s grace following the beatitudes of a good Christian and always sought a simple life.
He further noted that during his entire life, the deceased always yearned to serve his community without seeking popularity or asserting his authority over others. He added that when Kiwanuka was given episcopate responsibilities, he devoted his life to serving his flock with humility, love, and keeping a cool head even in difficult situations.
Kampala Archbishop Dr. Paul Ssemogerere noted that Archbishop Kiwanuka in his humbleness emphasized education, environment, and development of his people during his tenure as ordinary of Kotido and Tororo.
Ssemogerere asked the faithful in Kotido, Tororo, and Uganda at large to emulate Kiwanuka’s legacy by caring for the environment and seeking quality education.
Tororo Archbishop Emmanuel Obbo said that his predecessor served the church his whole life from childhood in the mission where he grew up to his death as the Archbishop Emeritus of Tororo.
Archbishop Obbo could not forget to ask the Lord to forgive the soul of the deceased if there are any shortcomings that Archbishop Kiwanuka had.
On behalf of the family members, Dr. Abdulhu Byakatonda, who is a grandson of the deceased, noted that the late Archbishop will always be remembered because of his kindness and generosity, and the sense of humor that he used to brighten the days of everyone.
Kiwanuka will be buried at Nyangole Uganda Martyrs Cathedral in Tororo on Thursday with the final requiem mass and interment.
However, before the burial, his body will be taken to Pallisa Catholic Parish where he grew from. There will be a requiem mass at noon.
Archbishop Denis Lote Kiwanuka was born in 1938 to Semutewo Mwanje and Sarah Kasana Namuwoya of Kadumure village, in the present-day Pallisa district. He was the last born in a family with seven elder sisters and eight elder brothers.
The prelate went to Pallisa Primary School, Achilet Preparatory Seminary, St. Pius X, Nagongera Minor Seminary, Nyenga Minor Seminary, and later Ggaba Major Seminary. After his priestly studies, he was ordained in 1965 by Archbishop James Odongo whom he was to replace in the years that followed.
Later he went for further studies in the United States of America where he acquired a Masters Degree in Divinity and another one in education. Upon returning to Uganda, he served in several parishes within Tororo, then a diocese, a curate, parish priest and teacher, and a rector at his Alma mater –Nangongere Minor Seminary.
He served as a pastoral coordinator, diocesan treasurer, and vicar general before he was appointed to be the first bishop of Kotido Diocese.
After several years of pioneering Kotido Diocese, Pope Benedict XVI transferred him back to his mother diocese in 2007, where he served as the second Metropolitan filling the See that had fallen vacant upon the retirement of Archbishop Odongo.
Archbishop Kiwanuka served Tororo until he reached the mandatory retirement age of 75 in 2014.
Although loved by many for his works and personal conduct, a group of Christians besieged his residence protesting against his refusal to ordain into priesthood an Acholi Labwor deacon. This was during the last days of his service in the Kotido Diocese.