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Catholic church probes ‘miracle’ for beatification of Msgr Ngobya

Msgr Ngobya burial site. URN photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Catholic church has begun looking into a potential miracle that if confirmed would lead to the beatification and eventual canonization of Monsignor Aloysius Ngobya.

Rev. Fr. Henry Kasule, the promoter of Ngobya’s case, says there is a 12-year-old girl named Angella Nakaweesi whose parents claim that she was miraculously cured after the intercession of the deceased priest.

Fr Kasule says available information, which is yet to be backed by scientific proof, shows that a mother identified as Beatrice Nassuwa who is a resident in Sembabule parish in Masaka diocese gave birth to a girl in 2008. However, the baby had a heart condition which was diagnosed and medical experts advised that she needed to undergo surgery.

Kasule adds that they have been informed that despite their best efforts, the girl’s family was unable to afford the expensive medical bill for their ill child, and as a result, they turned to prayer and intercession through Msgr. Ngobya.

Nassuwa, also claims that her daughter’s recovery was a miracle because they had no other options and had turned to God for solace. Nassuwa asserts that her child’s life had a difficult beginning and that her family was shocked to notice her progression as she grew older.

Ever since the cause of the beatification of Ngobya was initiated, the faithful have been praying for an extraordinary miracle to be wrought through the intercession of the priest, who has been exalted to the position of servant of God.

Msgr Ngobya, who died in 1985 is said to have performed miracles during his lifetime.

In 2011, with clearance from the Vatican, the Church instituted a commission of inquiry to ascertain whether Msgr Ngobya deserved canonization. His body was exhumed by the Catholic Church in the presence of a team specially sent from Rome. It was reported that even after 26 years in the grave, his heart, lungs, kidney, part of his brain, and clothes were found intact.

According to Rev Fr Dr. Edward Ssekabanja, the Masaka diocesan chancellor who is also the chairperson of a committee tasked to gather evidence to support the process towards Msgr. Ngobya’s beatification, a miracle is still required before it can be taken into consideration.

Rev Fr Dr. Ssekabanja who was also a member of the committee on the cause for the beatification of Mother Kevin, explains that a potentially miraculous cure must be instantaneous or sudden, complete and permanent, and with no scientific, or natural explanation.

Now, with the claim of the miraculous healing of Nakaweesi tabled, Fr Kasule adds that they have already gathered some information including the medical records of the child which they are soon going to hand over to Fr Ssekabanja so that it is investigated.

To verify miracles, a Vatican-appointed Miracle Commission typically made up of theologians and scientific experts – looks into the claim. Traditionally, a panel of five experts, including non-Catholics, reviews the putative miracle, examining any available medical reports. At least three of the five must agree that the hand of God has prevailed where science faltered.

In 2018, Rome began reviewing the evidence presented by Masaka diocese. Since then, many believers, who claim to have received special healing by praying at their graves in Kitovu Cathedral, Masaka district, have agitated for his beatification and eventual canonization.

The church has been recording testimonies from diverse people, recording accounts of hundreds of favours that they attribute to Ngobya’s intercession. Many of these testimonies were sent to the Roman Curia’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints in 2016 when the church concluded its investigation into the life, virtues, and intercessory powers of the deceased priest.

Although the aforementioned testimonies were kept private, it has been said that majority of them were in category of favours rather than miracles.

As the church probes Nakaweesi’s miracle, Dr John Omagino, a cardiologist says that in some cases congenital heart defects can naturally be corrected in childhood but once a child is above four years, the defect must be corrected by surgery.

Omagino who is also the Executive Director Uganda Heart Institute, however further notes that they have had challenges with people who claim to have miraculously cured from these congenital heart defects putting up false hope and later returning when the condition has deteriorated.

The road to sainthood is not new to Uganda as Ugandan Martyrs paved the way in the canonization process. However, it took 52 years for the process to be completed. A disabled youngster called Levocatus Kalema of Kakuuto Sub-county in Rakai District walked after a nine-day novena via the intercession of Uganda Martyrs for this group of 22 young converts to be beatified and afterward revered to sainthood.

Since the martyrs, two other causes have been successfully handled in Uganda, including the beatification of Daudi Okello and Jildo Irwa, and the upcoming beatification of Fr. Dr Giuseppe Ambrosoli on November 22, 2022.



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