Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Catholic church in Uganda is in final stages of unveiling a grand religious museum depicting the history of Christianity and Catholicism in particular, since the 1870s when the first missionaries arrived in the country.
The development has been revealed by the Kampala Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga who notes that the Museum will be named after Kabaka Muteesa I as a sign of remembering his invaluable contribution to the early church in Uganda.
According to Archbishop Lwanga, the said grand museum will among other things bring together several items telling the 141-year story of the catholic church in Uganda from all the four ecclesiastical provinces with some other artifacts of significance relevance brought other countries.
The museum which is currently under development at St. Mary’s Catholic Cathedral Rubaga will be opened to the public by April 12 and is expected to be one of the ceremonies that will mark the 65th birthday of the reigning Kabaka, Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II.
“It was here at Rubaga that the Kabaka met Mapera (Fr. Simeon Lourdel) allowing him and his team to preach the good news, facilitated them and also gave out several pieces of land which are still occupied by the church to date. We wanted it to be opened by the Kabaka as one of the signs to indicate that the church is and has always appreciated the contributions of the kingdom,” says Archbishop Lwanga.
Although Muteesa’s role in the spread of Christianity in Buganda could lay a foundation for the evangelization of the whole territory which forms Uganda today is widely known, at times the kingdom officials feel like his (Muteesa I) contribution is either being lowered or silenced.
In 2010, as the catholic church in Uganda celebrated the 131st anniversary of the faith in Uganda, the then Buganda kingdom minister for gender and community development, Apollonia Mugumbya, was forced to criticize the Catholic Church in public for playing down the role of the kingdom in the establishment and consolidation of the Catholic faith in the country.
However, the church retaliated by saying that they have never forgotten Muteesa’s contribution referring to the fact that his name has been praised in many books, songs, and poems. Buganda kingdom and the church have had a complicated relationship as some kings like Daniel Basamula-Ekere Mwanga persecuted the faith whereas others embraced it.
Meanwhile, Rubaga Cathedral already hosts an achieve of several artifacts and memories of the church in three rooms at one of the church buildings at the hill. inside the rooms are vestments, chalices, crucifixes, shoes, radio sets, counting machines, typewriters, utensils used by the missionaries and their predecessors.
The Director of the Social Communications Department of Kampala Archdiocese, Rev.Fr Joseph Mukasa Nkeera notes that most of the items from the achieve will be transferred to museum adding that a lot of written literature and remarkable documents on the catholic church in Uganda are to be given space in the museum.
“On top of that, there is a room that will be dedicated to visuals. Here several videos and documentaries showing remarkable events will be screened to visitors. it is going to be a very nice place where one would find everything to do with our faith and our history,” says Rev.Fr Nkeera.
The catholic ‘grand museum’ will be yet another religious museum standing akin to the Uganda martyrs museum which was opened in by the church of Uganda to depict the sorrowful story of the Uganda Martyrs who were killed on orders of Kabaka Mwanga during the infancy periods of Christianity in Uganda.