Catholic Church needs sh7b to construct a pilgrims house

By Eddie Ssejjoba and Juliet Lukwago Added 31st October 2020 05:15 PM

The Pilgrims House will offer decent accommodation and other hospitable services to Pilgrims who throng the Catholic shrine every year and would wish to stay longer in the place.

Msgr Katende (L) shows the Katikiro of Buganda, Charles Peter Mayiga (second right) and others the foundation stone of the Pilgrims House at Namugongo, Kyoto on Friday October 31. Photo by Juliet Lukwago

Catholics and friends of Msgr. Wynand Katende have contributed sh70m in a fundraising drive towards the construction of a sh7bn Pilgrims House near the Uganda Martyrs’ Shrine Namugongo.

The Pilgrims House will offer decent accommodation and other hospitable services to Pilgrims who throng the Catholic shrine every year and would wish to stay longer in the place.

The construction of the facility at the Foyers de Charite Retreat Center at Namugongo-Kyoto, was Friday (October 30, 2020) commissioned by the Katikiro of Buganda, Charles Peter Mayiga, as part of Msgr. Katende’s 40th anniversary in priesthood.

Msgr. Katende (second left) cutting a cake to celebrate 40 years in priesthood. Looking on are Katikiro Charles Mayiga (Third right), and his wife Margaret and Prince David Wasajja (R). Photo by Eddie Ssejjoba

Members of the Kwagalana Group, a membership association headed by businessman, Godfrey Kirumira, who organised the celebrations, contributed sh42m out of the sh70m total collection in support of the project.

Katende, who is the chaplain of the Kwagalana Group and the brain behind the project said that many Catholics cherish the Retreat Centre as a place that offers spiritual sanctuary, which enables them to participate in the new evangelisation.

He, however, said although the retreat was open to everyone, there were no enough facilities including accommodation for guests who come from near and far especially prior and after the annual pilgrimage on June 3.  

Msgr Katende (C) posing for photo with members of the Kwagalana Group, headed by Godfrey Kirumira (second left). Right is Ponsiano Ngabirano of Capital Shoppers who contributed sh10m. Photo by Eddie Ssejjoba

Katende told the guests that in his 40 years in priesthood, he had not served only the Catholic Church but has been welcoming and working together with people from other faiths including Muslims, Seventh Day Adventist, Anglicans as well as the Buganda monarch.

The Right Rev. Joseph Anthony Zziwa, the bishop of Kiyinda-Mityana diocese who led the mass, faulted the police that recently interrupted the mass headed by Bishop Emeritus John Baptist Kaggwa of Masaka saying ‘disturbing a Eucharist celebration is a misdemeanor in our law and an offence’.

He explained that no one apart from the main celebrant has powers or rights to stop the mass.

Mayiga described Msgr. Katende as a welcoming and caring priest for all sorts of people who go to him in both joy and troubles.

Msgr. Katende (R) handing over a gift to the Katikiro Charles Mayiga at the function. Photo by Eddie Ssejjoba

He said he was the type of priest who does not sit at the parish and wish blessings to the believers but he often goes out to look for them and tries to understand them and live with them.

“That is why he will remain a loved man of God,” he said, adding that being a chaplain of the Kwagalana Group was evidence that he was a man of people as well.

He also applauded him for being hardworking, saying God does not only need their prayers, but needed a Church that moves with hard work and action, which he said were the core values that Msgr. Katende has been preaching.

According to Mayiga, 40 years in priesthood was not a mean achievement and appealed to people to emulate him and take him as an inspiration.

He applauded him for loving the Buganda monarch and his Lugave clan, where he said he has been actively supporting all their activities, adding that being a clergy does not stop one from belonging to his culture.

The function was attended by several clergy including Msgr.’s classmates, the Vicar General of Kampala Archdiocese, Msgr. Gerald Kalumba who represented the Archbishop of Kampala, Dr. Cyprian Kizito Lwanga, Msgr. Lawrence Ssemusu, Fr. Lazarus Luyinda, Brother-Father Anatoli Wasswa, Fr. Augustine Safari, and Fr. Francis Xavier Kikomeko.

Others were former Katikiro of Buganda, Joseph Ssemwogerere, Prince David Wassajja and his wife, Marion Nankya, former Deputy Governor, Louis Kasekende, Managing Director of Centenary Bank, Fabian Kasi and wife, Kiberu Kaddu, Kira Mayor, Julius Mutebi, Jolly Lutaaya former Buganda Minister, tycoons led by Godfrey Kirumira, Joseph Yiga of Steel and Tubes, Ngabirano of Capital Shoppers among others.