Local Ugandan Catholic community mourns Archbishop Lwanga

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The 68-year-old archbishop was known as an outspoken defender of the rights of the poor and oppressed. PHOTO: Alphonsus Fok

A Ugandan archbishop who died suddenly on Holy Saturday has been remembered as a loving and dedicated leader at a recent Mass in Sydney.

Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga of Kampala, was found dead in his room on 3 April, in a shock to the East African nation and its diaspora. Questions immediately multiplied around his death. Both before and after January elections in his country, Archbishop Lwanga expressed fears for his life.

“I extend my heartfelt condolences and support to the Ugandan Catholic community here in Sydney” – Bishop Umbers

A post-mortem saw pathologists appointed by both the Catholic Church and the government participate. The report indicated that he died of a heart attack. The 68-year-old archbishop was known as an outspoken defender of the rights of the poor and oppressed, at times attracting the ire of government officials for castigating the country’s leadership over injustices.

Writing to Ugandan-born Catholics in Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP paid tribute to the archbishop as a “brave defender of human rights” and a man of profound faith who was “much-loved”.

“I recognise the particular sadness that many of you would be now experiencing with the suddenness of this news, and I extend my heartfelt condolences and support to the Ugandan Catholic community here in Sydney….Please be assured of my prayers for you all and for Archbishop Cyprian’s soul at the altar.”

Pictured at the 2019 World Youth Day in Panama are (left to right) Bishop Richard Umbers, Archbishop Cyprian Lwanga and Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP. PHOTO: Facebook

Bishop Richard Umbers celebrated a thanksgiving Mass for the life of the archbishop at Our Lady of Fatima church in Kingsgrove on 14 April. He said Bishop Lwanga was not only a brilliant scholar but an “exceptional man” who had wholeheartedly embraced his mission amid often very difficult circumstances.

“The legacy of a bishop is to be a successor to the apostles, and to be an apostle means drinking from the same cup as Jesus,” he said.

Former employees and friends of the archbishop, Morris Mukasa and his wife Teddy Nakalembe, who now live in Kingsgrove, paid tribute to him at the Mass as a true spiritual father and hard-working and innovative pastor and leader. The couple worked with the archbishop on a number of projects, most notably in prison ministry. “We shared a lot with the archbishop, he loved us very much,” Mrs Nakalembe said.