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Hours after Preaching at Ecumenical Way of Cross, Kampala’s Archbishop Found Dead

Late Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga (front in black) during the Ecumenical Way of the Cross at Saint Paul's Church of God Cathedral, Namirembe, Kampala, Uganda on 2 April 2021

Hours after giving the homily during the ecumenical Way of the Cross on Good Friday, the Archbishop of Uganda’s Kampala Archdiocese has been “found dead in his room.”

“The Archbishop was found dead in his room this morning,” the Chancellor of Kampala Archdiocese, Fr. Pius Male Ssentumbwe says in reference to Archbishop Cyprian Kitizo Lwanga.

In their statement shared with ACI Africa, members of the Uganda Episcopal Conference (UEC) confirm the passing on of Archbishop Kizito Lwanga who turned 68 in January.

“The members of the Conference extend their condolences to the Clergy, religious and faithful of the Archdiocese of Kampala, and the Catholic Church in Uganda,” the Catholic Bishops in Uganda state in their letter signed by UEC Chairman, Bishop Joseph Antony Zziwa.

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“Details of the funeral will be announced later,” UEC members say, and implore in their April 3 statement, “May the soul of His Grace rest in eternal peace.”

On Good Friday, Archbishop Kizito Lwanga had taken part in the annual ecumenical Way of the Cross at Saint Paul's Church of God Cathedral, Namirembe, the oldest Cathedral in Uganda that is commonly referred to as Namirembe Cathedral, having been founded in 1890.

“Jesus died for you, he died for me, he died for all of humanity. I wish a very, very…successful Way of the Cross,” Archbishop Kizito Lwanga said at the beginning of the ecumenical Way of the Cross, April 2.

Reading from a booklet prepared for the Good Friday event, the late Ugandan Archbishop said, “Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, the Way of the Cross is a journey, made in Holy Spirit, that divine fire, which burns in the heart of Jesus, and brought him to Calvary. This is journey well esteemed by the Church.”

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The Church has retained the journey of the Way of the Cross, the Archbishop said in his introductory remarks, as “a living memory of the words and gestures of the final earthly days of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

The Church has retained the journey of the Way of the Cross, the Archbishop said in his introductory remarks, as “a living memory of the words and gestures of the final earthly days of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

The Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, who participated in the Good Friday ecumenical Way of the Cross alongside the late Archbishop has recalled their time together Friday, April 2.

“Just yesterday, we walked the Way of the Cross together, and it is a shock to all of us. His clear Gospel voice of advocacy for the poor and oppressed, his commitment to Christian unity, and justice for all will be dearly missed,” Archbishop Stephen Samuel Kaziimba of the Church of Uganda who hosted the annual event says in April 3 letter.

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The Ugandan Archbishop adds in reference to the late Catholic Archbishop, “We know that he has moved into the nearer presence of our Lord and is advancing from glory to glory. He fought the good fight; he finished the race; he kept the faith. Now he, who longed for our Lord's appearing, receives the crown of righteousness.”

In his “open letter of condolence to Uganda's Roman Catholics” addressed to the Chancellor of Kampala Archdiocese, Fr. Ssentumbwe, the Ugandan Archbishop further says, “On behalf of the Church of Uganda, please accept our sincerest condolences to you and all Ugandan Roman Catholics who are grieving the sudden death of Archbishop Cyprian Lwanga,”

“We are praying for you, your people, and all Ugandans that we will know the comfort of the Holy Spirit at this time of great loss, and at the same time rejoice that Archbishop Cyprian's name was written in the Book of Life,” Archbishop Kaziimba of the Church of Uganda says in his April 3 letter obtained by ACI Africa.

The late Archbishop Kizito Lwanga was ordained a Priest of Kampala Archdiocese in April 1978.

He was appointed Bishop of Uganda’s Kasana-Luweero Diocese in November 1996. His episcopal ordination took place on 1 March 1997. He was transferred to Kampala Archdiocese in August 2006 and installed as Archbishop in September 2006.

At the celebrations marking Martyrs’ Day in Uganda last June, the late Archbishop called on the people of God under his pastoral care to follow the example of the Ugandan martyrs in view of strengthening their Christian faith within their respective families amid COVID-19 challenges.

“It is time for us to strengthen the domestic Church following the example of the martyrs of the early Church and by doing so, become stronger in faith,” Archbishop Kizito Lwanga said 3 June 2020, the annual event that is also known as the feast of St. Charles Lwanga and his Companions.

Archbishop Kizito Lwanga went on to encourage family members to own and read the Bible on a daily basis saying, “Fortunately, for us as Catholics, every day of the year there are readings we are invited to meditate on. And all those readings invite us for renewal. Let us read and meditate on them as families.”