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Rome gives Archbishop Ssemogerere full powers

Archbishop Ssemogerere Formally Vested with The Pallium

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | His Grace Dr Paul Ssemogerere has been formally vested with a pallium, which symbolizes pastoral and judicial powers bestowed upon him by the Pope, to be exercised in Kampala Archdiocese and the central ecclesiastical province.

The ritual of vesting an archbishop with a pallium which the churchgoers in attendance were witnessing for the first time, was conducted by the Apostolic Nuncio to Uganda Archbishop Luigi Bianco in a fully packed Lubaga cathedral.

The pallium is a white woolen strip, worn around the neck in liturgical functions, symbolizing the union between a metropolitan archbishop and the Bishop of Rome (His Holiness the Pope).

During the event, Archbishop Bianco, first explained the importance and tradition of these clothes to the congregation in total silence.

Archbishop Bianco explained that for years, each new archbishop received his pallium directly from the Pope, during Mass on the patronal feast of the Church of Rome, on June 29.  But, he continued, Pope Francis altered this custom in 2015 by declaring that each newly appointed metropolitan archbishop should be officially invested with the pallium during a service in his own archdiocese.

“The Pope advised that the local ceremony, which emphasizes the metropolitan archbishop’s role, would also support understanding of synodality in the governance of the universal Church,” the nuncio said before pointing out that, despite the vesture ceremony taking place today, Ssemogerere already received this pallium from the Pope himself on June 9th  of this year in Vatican.

As a sign of affirmation and confirmation of his faith, archbishop Ssemogerere stated the Apostles Creed aloud while knelt before the Apostolic Nuncio and a few minutes later he was vested with this small piece of sash of material of almost five centimeters.  The Y-shaped fabric with a central curve and six silk crosses in black rested on Dr. Ssemogerere’s shoulders with two black flaps flapping in front and behind.

After being vested, the cathedral was filled with ululations and drumming as soon as the archbishop got up. The  pallium also indicates that Archbishop Ssemogerere governs Kampala Archdiocese while he presides at the same over other bishops (but not in  superiority of order) of the suffrage dioceses under the central province namely; Masaka, Kiyinda Mityana, Lugazi and Luweero. For this purpose, all the mentioned Sees were well represented at the function by their bishops or vicar generals.

Since this Pallium is a symbol of power in a restricted jurisdiction, the archbishop only wears it while within that specified area- in this case Kampala or central ecclesiastical province. To be more specific, archbishop Ssemogerere cannot wear this piece of wool when in, say, the ecclesiastical provinces of Mbarara, Tororo or Gulu.

After receiving the pallium, Dr. Semogerere requested the congregation to pray for him so that God might use him in his new role as the archbishop to preach without regard for himself and to be a servant in communion with the Pope and the entire church.

In his letter congratulating the current archbishop on attaining this milestone, Emmanuel Cardinal Wamala explained the significance of this cloth and stated that it cannot be given to one’s successor in service. For this reason, Cardinal Wamala said that he is maintaining his with care and passion.

Additionally, Cardinal Wamala urged the faithful to work with their new Shepard to lead the archdiocese to new heights. Meanwhile, while giving his homily, Archbishop Ssemwogerere castigated greed, injustice and corruption which are failing this country Uganda, emphasizing accountability in all sectors including the Catholic Church for better service delivery.

The colorful event also took place on  the Kampala archdiocesan day with the faithful celebrating 56 years ever since Rome combined some portions of what was once the Kampala Diocese under the Mill Hill Father (at Nsambya hill) and the Archdiocese of Lubaga, which had been under the White Fathers.

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