Rubaga, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | It was a sombre mood at Rubaga Cathedral when Christians from Kampala Archdiocese gathered for the Easter vigil mass, hours after the death of their Archbishop, His Grace Dr. Cyprian Kizito Lwanga.
The Easter Vigil is the greatest liturgy of the entire year in the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church. It is also the liturgy held in traditional Christian churches as the first official celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus.
Normally, celebrations happen at night. However, the deceased Archbishop, His Grace Dr. Cyprian Kizito Lwanga advised that this time around, it should be held around 5 pm because of the night-time curfew restrictions. According to the program, the deceased Archbishop was scheduled to celebrate the mass.
However, the Archbishop passed on in his bed. Although the Easter Vigil Mass usually comes with a lot of pomp and excitement among Catholics as celebrate the risen king, this year’s mass was filled with grief as many churchgoers were still shocked by the death of their shepherd.
At first, the faithful thought that the church was going to held requiem mass for the fallen prelate after seeing a bonfire outside the church. However, Rev. Fr. Dr. Richard Mwebe, the Kampala Archdiocesan Vice-chancellor, explained that the fire had not been lit to mourn the late Lwanga but it was the Easter fire.
“This fire is symbolic of Christ who is not dead, but very much alive, burning brightly. From this fire, coals are taken out to light the incense and the fire is also used to light the new Paschal candle,” the priest explained.
Before the beginning of the homily, Rev Fr. Dr Mwebe, who is also one of the first priests ordained by the late Archbishop after becoming the ordinary of Kampala Archdiocese led the faithful in short prayer before narrating the hours leading to his demise.
Dr. Lwanga’s last public appearance was during the ecumenical way of the cross-held at Namirembe Anglican Diocese where he delivered a strong message on the cross and its importance to the church. Fr. Mwebe asked the faithful of Kampala to always reflect on the words of the Archbishop who explained the importance of the cross and death of Christ.
Rev Fr Dr Mwebe further appealed to social media users to desist from spreading misinformation on the likely cause of death of the Archbishop. He noted that the faithful and entire public should be patient and wait for official communication from the church.
Different people who attended the Easter vigil eulogized the Archbishop as a man who always preached peace and justice. Erias Lukwago, the Kampala City Lord Mayor, said that for long the fallen man of God will be remembered for speaking the truth to the power whenever he saw injustice.
Vincent Kafeero, a parishioner at Rubaga, says that people loved the Archbishop, which was evident by the hundreds that were flocking Rubaga cathedral after receiving the news of his death. He says that many could not believe it and went to the cathedral to get firsthand information.