By MOSES MUWULYA & AL-MAHDI SSENKABIRWA
Masaka Catholic Diocese Bishop John Baptist Kaggwa has hinted on his retirement and admitted writing to Pope Francis as is the norm in the Catholic Church.
Bishop Kaggwa, who has been at the helm of the diocese for almost 20 years, clocked 75 on March 23. Catholic Bishops are expected to submit their resignation letters to the Pontiff the moment they clock 75 years of age.
Speaking at celebrations to mark 23 years as bishop at St Gonzaga Sembabule Centenary Parish on Sunday, Bishop Kaggwa urged Christians to patiently wait for the Pontiff to announce the next bishop to steer the diocese.
“I have not yet retired as bishop as it was recently portrayed in the newspapers. It is true that our law states that when a bishop clocks 75 years, he writes to the Pope who makes the final decision, which I did. But I was with the Pope last week and he did not say anything,” he said.
“But this does not mean that the norm [of a bishop retiring at 75 years] has changed. So, if he [Pope] chooses a new bishop sooner or later, please pay allegiance to him; love him and work with him to take the diocese to greater heights,” he added. In rare instances, a bishop can exceed the mandatory retirement age but the Pope can give him a go-ahead to continue serving. Currently, Lira Diocese Bishop Giuseppe Franzelli is the only actively serving bishop in Uganda above 75 years.
Bishop Kaggwa promised to continue serving the Church in other capacities in case his tenure is not extended. “I also thank God for enabling us to reach this far during these 23 years. I ask God to continue guiding me to serve his people,” he said.
He will for long be remembered for promoting social-economic development and open remarks on governance and political issues.
The diocese under his stewardship has also embraced many development projects, including construction of new schools, rental houses, farms and plantations on top of two shopping arcades; one in Masaka Town named after him and another in Kampala -all intended to generate more income to the diocese.
Birth. Bishop Kaggwa was born on March 22, 1943 in Bulenga Village, Wakiso District.
Career. Bishop Kaggwa was ordained priest on December 12, 1971. On 24 June 1995, he became coadjutor bishop to Bishop Adrian Kivumbi Ddungu. When Bishop Ddungu retired, the Pope named Kaggwa as the new bishop of Masaka Diocese.