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Celebrations as Ugandan-born Priest takes charge of South African Diocese

 

Msgr. Joseph Kizito
Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | It was all celebrations this weekend in Wakaliga, a Kampala suburb, the birthplace of Msgr. Joseph Kizito, a Ugandan-priest who has been appointed as the ninth Bishop of Aliwal Catholic Diocese in South Africa. The jubilation has also extended to Rubaga hill, the seat of Kampala Archdiocese.

The news of Monsignor Kizito’s appointment was made public on Friday with a publication in The Vatican announcing that the Ugandan born priest would take over the Diocese that has been vacant since the resignation of Bishop Michael Wüstenberg in 2017.

“Praise him. praise him…” family, friends and faithfuls cheered and sung in praise over the news. visitors are still flocking his mother’s home to share the joy.

His mother, Christine Babirye Nsubuga, whom we found staring at the portrait says God has ‘chosen his boy and raised him from grass to grace’. She immediately recites a prayer dedicating her son to mother Mary.

With tears rolling down her eyes, Babirye says the new of the appointment is the best thing to ever happen to her in her lifetime and felt blessed that the humbling day came to pass when she was still alive.

Msgr. Kizito left Uganda barely two weeks to his appointment, after the burial of his elder sister. Babirye notes that her son left home looking depressed and that impression has been hurting her.

Now, just like Simeon, the God-receiver, who according to the bible was given a chance to stay alive so as to see Jesus Christ, Babirye’s prayer is to stay alive and witness the consecration of his son. According to Canon law, it takes three months for the appointed ordinary to be ordained and to take possession of this new office.

Ritah Nankya Nsubuga, a sister to the bishop-elect, says Joe, as they fondly call him, has had a rough but dedicated life from which God has chosen to elevate him. She recalls the youthful days of the appointed prelate which was characterized by working as a second-hand cloth vendor in St Balikuddembe market and serving as an altar boy at Rubaga, later.

Rev Fr Joseph Nkeera, the Kampala Archdiocesan Communication Secretary praised the critical eye of the Holy See which has perceived the greatness in the man who has assertively chosen to serve in the spiritually troubled country of South Africa.

Fr Nkeera, one of Kizito’s close friends says that during the several visits to South Africa, he has seen the impact of the appointed Bishop through the different moves to adopt the social culture and the several initiatives he has championed to support the youth and other underprivileged people.

To him, the appointment is a challenge, encouragement, and a reward to missionary priests who hail from African countries who have stood aside to evangelize in foreign land.

Bishop-elect Joseph Kizito was born in Wakaliga, Kampala, in the Archdiocese of Kampala, on July 2, 1967. He studies from Rubaga Primary school and Lubiri High School in Uganda before mobbing to study philosophy in Saint Augustine’s major seminary in Roma, Lesotho, and theology in Saint John Vianney, Pretoria, South Africa. He was ordained priest on September 27, 1997, and incardinated in the diocese of Aliwal.

Until his appointment, Msgr. Joseph Kizito has been the Vicar General for the Diocese of Aliwal North and parish priest of Aliwal North Cathedral Parish, in The ecclesiastical Province of Eastern Cape. Previously he also served as parish vicar of the Saint Francis Xavier parish (1997-1998), parish priest of Saint Augustine’s parish in Dordrecht (1998-2003) and parish priest of Sterkspruit Catholic Church (2003-2013). He has been the parish priest of Aliwal Cathedral since 2013.

The Diocese of Aliwal began in 1923 as an ecclesiastical territory entrusted to the Congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart. It was formerly known as the Gariep Prefecture. In 1936 the Prefecture was raised to the status of Vicariate and became known as the Aliwal Vicariate. It was erected as a diocese in 1951, but in 1953 the Western portion of the Diocese was detached and became The prefecture of De Aar.

The Diocese now comprises the municipalities of Inkwanca, Gariep, Kopanong-Xhariep, Maletswai, Senqu and Ukhahlamba. It has two parishes, 3 missions and 12 priests.

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