Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Most Rev. Dr. Paul Ssemogerere has officially taken over as the new Archbishop of Kampala replacing the late Archbishop Kizito Lwanga who died last year. Several Archbishops, Bishops, priests, nuns, special guests, and hundreds of Christians witnessed his installation this morning in the fully packed Lubaga Cathedral with many more others following the events from tents outside the church and other platforms such as television and social media.
The installation began with Rev. Fr. Puis Male, the Chancellor of Kampala Archdiocese reading out the Papal letter to this effect. He read the letter in Latin in the total silence of the Christians before it was translated to English and Luganda, sending the fully packed cathedral into applause and singing with joy.
In his letter, Pope Francis noted that after his consultations with the congregation, he was convinced that Ssemogerere was ready for the new role having gathered spiritual and human competence, which he can use to enrich the spiritual and physical needs of the Kampala Archdiocese.
After reading the Papal letter, the new Archbishop, the Papal Nuncio to Uganda, Archbishop Luigi Bianco led Dr. Ssemogerere to a special canopy-like chair in the cathedral. He presented him with a Mitre (special headgear) and stuff that Pope John Paul VI used during his first visit to Uganda and Africa at large.
After this ritualistic event, Ssemogerere delivered a brief speech accepting the new role assigned to him by his venerable brother, Pope Francis. “It fills me with deep gratitude and joy. I am humbled to be assigned to lead this great Archdiocese of Kampala,” he said sending the congregation into jubilation as several people congratulated him.
They included representatives from the central government led by the Vice president, Jessica Alupo, the Katikiro of Buganda, Charles Peter Mayiga and Prince Wassajja, religious heads, the clergy, and lay Christians among others.
After the installation, the new Archbishop led his first eucharist mass as the ordinary of Kampala Archdiocese joining a special list of three others including Emmanuel Cardinal Kiwanuka Nsubuga: (1966-1990), Emmanuel Cardinal Wamala (1990-2006), and Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga (2006-2021).
Canon law requires that if the Archbishop-designate is already a bishop as Ssemogerere, he must take canonical possession of the see within two months of the date of his appointment. Ssemogerere didn’t receive episcopal consecration given the fact that he is already a Bishop.
Pope Francis named Bishop Paul Ssemogerere as the new Archbishop of Kampala Metropolitan Archdiocese on December 9, 2021. Until that day, the designated Episcopate was the Bishop of Kasana-Luwero diocese.
On April 8, 2021, four days after the death of Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga, Pope Francis appointed Bishop Ssemogerere as Apostolic Administrator for Kampala, a role he has played until his installation as the next Archbishop of the metropolitan see.
Ssemogerere was born on June 30, 1956, at Kisubi, in the present-day Wakiso district. He attended Kigero Primary School before transferring to Kisubi Boys Primary School. He later joined St. Maria Goretti Senior Secondary School Katende, where he completed his ordinary level studies.
In 1976, Ssemogerere and seven other young men became pioneer students of St. Mbaaga Seminary at Ggaba. This was the pioneer class of this seminary, which specializes in training men as priests when they are older and without having attended a minor seminary.
In 1978, the late Cardinal Emmanuel Kiwanuka Nsubuga sent Ssemogerere to the Saint Francis de Sales Seminary, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in the United States, where he graduated with a Master of Divinity degree in 1982. On November 21, 1981, he was ordained deacon by Archbishop Rembert George Weakland, the Archbishop of Milwaukee.
On Martyrs’ Day, 1983, Ssemogerere was ordained a priest and incardinated in the Archdiocese of Kampala. His episcopal journey began on June 4, 2008, when he was elected Bishop of Kasana-Luwero, replacing Dr. Kizito Lwanga who had been elevated to Archbishop of Kampala two years earlier.