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Bishops in Eastern Africa Write to Condole with Ugandans, South Sudanese, Tanzanians

Late Archbishop Paolino Lukudu Loro (left), Late Bishop Alfred Leonhard Maluma (Center) and Late Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga (Right)

The leadership of the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (AMECEA) has, in separate statements, condoled with the people of God in Uganda, South Sudan and Tanzania following the death of Catholic Prelates in their respective countries. 

Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga of Uganda’s Kampala Archdiocese, Archbishop emeritus Paolino Lukudu Loro of Juba Archdiocese in South Sudan, and Bishop Alfred Leonhard Maluma of Tanzania’s Njombe Diocese died on April 3, April 5 and April 6, respectively. 

In the letter addressed to Bishop Anthony Zziwa, the President of the Uganda Episcopal Conference (UEC), the leadership of AMECEA sends “sincere condolences and profound sympathy” to the Bishops in Uganda and the people of God in the Archdiocese of Kampala.

Catholic Bishops in Eastern Africa recall Archbishop Kizito Lwanga’s hosting of the launch and conclusion of the year-long Golden Jubilee celebrations of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) in July 2018 and July 2019 respectively.

The memories of SECAM Golden Jubilee events are “so fresh” making it “difficult to believe that he has left us so suddenly,” Bishops of the nine-nation regional conference say in the letter signed by AMECEA Chairman, Bishop Charles Kasonde of Zambia’s Solwezi Diocese.

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They further recall late Archbishop Kizito Lwanga as “a pillar of our Catholic faith not only in that Archdiocese which hosts the shrine of Uganda Martyrs but the entire AMECEA region as he was so welcoming to all the pilgrims coming to Namugongo for the feast of Saint Charles Lwanga and his Companions every year.”

“Our consolation (is) that the Lord chose to call him to his eternal home just as the Church awaited the Easter graces,” the Bishops of AMECEA say, referencing the Ugandan Archbishop who was found day in his residence April 3, hours after participating in the ecumenical Way of the Cross on Good Friday.

Now that the Lord is risen, AMECEA Chairman says, “It is my hope and prayer that he too has joined the rest of the disciples who have gone to meet him in Galilee.”

Archbishop Kizito Lwanga succumbed to a heart attack occasioned by a blood clot that was found inside the artery that supplies blood to the heart, the Health Coordinator of Kampala Archdiocese, Dr. Andrew Ssekitoleko, announced during April 5 Requiem Mass following a postmortem.

He was laid to rest in the Sacred Heart Lubaga Cathedral of Kampala Archdiocese Thursday, April 8.

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“May the soul of Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga rest in eternal peace and grant the entire family of God in Kampala the consolation of Easter hope,” the members of AMECEA comprising the Bishops’ Conferences of Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Sudan/South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia, with Somalia and Djibouti having observer status, say in their statement dated April 6.

In a separate statement addressed to Bishop Yunan Tombe Trille Kuku, the President of the Sudan Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SCBC) that includes Prelates in South Sudan, the leadership of AMECEA eulogizes the Archbishop emeritus of Juba, Paolino Lukudu Loro, who died at Kenya’s Nairobi Hospital Monday, April 5, as an “anchor of the Catholic faith for Sudan and South Sudan.”

“Archbishop Lukudu was indeed the anchor of Catholic faith for Sudan and South Sudan during the most difficult times of your conference during which the Church suffered martyrdom and yet he stood strong for the poor,” members of AMECEA eulogize the Church leader who was at the helm of Juba Archdiocese from February 1983 to December 2019.

They add that the member of the Comboni Missionaries who passed on at the age of 80 held the Church together and assured the Sudanese people, some of whom lived in refugee camps, “that they have shepherds who care for them.”

Archbishop Lukudu “will be remembered by the entire region as a key member of the AMECEA Executive Board whose insight and zeal to build a self-sustaining local church was never withered,” the leadership of the Nairobi-based Secretariat says.

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In the statement dated April 6 and circulated April 9, AMECEA members express their gratitude to Archbishop Stephen Ameyu of Juba and the Clergy serving in the only Metropolitan see in South Sudan “for the care and support they gave to Most. Rev. Lukudu during his retirement until the Lord has called him to grant him eternal rest.”

“As we celebrate the resurrection of the Lord, may the good Lord grant the soul of Archbishop Emeritus Paulino Lukudu the graces of Easter joy in heaven,” they say. 

A Requiem Mass in honor of the South Sudanese Archbishop was held at the Apostles of Jesus Shrine of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Nairobi Friday, April 9 ahead of the shipment of the body to Juba on Saturday, April 10. The Archbishop’s burial has been scheduled to take place Monday, April 12.

In another statement, members of AMECEA eulogize the late Bishop Alfred Leonhard Maluma of Tanzania’s Njombe Diocese as one who “strongly believed that the church in the region is able and capable of sustaining itself.”

Bishop Maluma passed on at the Muhimbili National Referral Hospital where he had been on and off the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) after being involved in a road accident, a source in Tanzania told ACI Africa Thursday, April 9. 

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In the message addressed to the President of the Tanzania Episcopal Conference (TEC), Archbishop Gervais Nyaisonga of Mbeya, AMECEA members say that they mourn together with the people of God in the East African nation because of the late Bishop’s “warm, humble, simple, generous and welcoming personality.”

Bishop Maluma was “well connected with the Bishops in the Catholic Church of Zambia and Malawi and he was very supportive of them,” AMECEA leadership says in the letter dated April 7, adding that the late Tanzanian Bishop “strongly believed that the church in the region is able and capable of sustaining itself.”

“We pray that the loving heavenly father grants him the grace to join the Risen Lord whom he followed and served with undivided heart,” AMECEA members say.  

Bishop Maluma is expected to be laid to rest Tuesday, April 13 in St. Joseph’s Cathedral of Njombe Diocese.