Unveiling Masaka Diocese bishop-elect

Light moment. Bishop Kaggwa (2nd left) with the bishop-elect, Msgr Serverus Jjumba (2nd right) and other clergy after mass at Kitovu Cathedral on March 24. PHOTO BY GERTRUDE MUTYABA

By MICHAEL J. SSALI

Monsignor Serverus Jjumba, the Vicar General of Masaka Diocese, will be consecrated as the new bishop of Masaka Diocese on July 6 at Kitovu Sports Arena in Masaka District.

He will be taking over from Bishop John Baptist Kaggwa, who will be retiring due to old age.
According to April 16 statement by Most Rev Luigi Bianco, the Apostolic Nuncio, the appointment of Msgr Jjumba came after the Pope accepted the resignation of Bishop Kaggwa.

The Most Rev Bianco commended Bishop Kaggwa for his dedicated service to the Church.
“He [Bishop Kaggwa] will remain the apostolic administrator of Masaka Diocese until the day of the canonical possession by the new bishop,” he said.

The childhood aspirations
In an interview with Daily Monitor last week, Msgr Jjumba, who was born on August 2, 1962 and has been priest for more than 26 years, revealed that he originally wanted to become a soldier, specifically under the Uganda Air Force.

“When I was about 10 years old, I lived with my brother who worked at a petrol station in Kitooro, Entebbe Municipality,” he said.
“I would often see some of the air force soldiers driving to the station for petrol, and I admired them for their smartness in their grey suits. I decided that when I grow up, I would become a soldier,” he added.

However, only a few years later when he was a pupil at Bulando Sub-grade Primary School in Buwunga Sub-county, Masaka District, everything changed after he attended High Mass celebrated by Rev Fr Joseph Namukangula at Bulando Sub-Parish Church.
He was attracted to the black cassock that Fr Namukangula wore and the beautiful black BSA motorcycle which he rode.
“I was also highly impressed by his wonderful singing of the plain chant pieces,” he revealed.

Change in the dreams
“So as I walked home after mass with my mother, I told her that I had made up my mind to become a priest. I even recall the very spot along the path where I told her about that big decision,” he reveals. His mother, Ms Leocadia Tezijjadda Namazzi, is still alive and she was the first person that he visited after receiving the news of his impending Episcopate that broke out on Tuesday, April 16, 2019. After Primary Four at Bulando Sub-grade School, young Jjumba joined St Paul Primary School, Kitovu to complete his primary school education since Bulando did not have classes five, six, and seven.

As a pupil at St Paul Primary School, he would frequently be the altar boy during mass at Kitovu Cathedral. He was also always among the best performers in class and he scored Grade One in his Primary Leaving Examinations before passing Bukalasa Minor Seminary Entrance examinations in January 1978.

He, however, suffered a big shock soon after going to the seminary when his father, Hermenegildo Ssebiranda, died suddenly of heart attack. He was a catechist at Bulando Sub-parish Church.
Msgr Jjumba has three brothers and four sisters. Although the family had a sizeable coffee garden, getting fees became a big issue.

“Sometimes my mother managed to raise the school fees and sometimes my big brothers helped with whatever little they could raise, but finally I got a reliable benefactor, Conerius Kasumba, of Buyisa Village in Kirumba Sub-parish, Kyotera District, who fully sponsored my priestly training,” he said.
He was the head prefect at the seminary and he greatly enjoyed playing football.

He studied Mathematics, Economics, and Geography in his Advanced Level before joining Katigondo Major Seminary, Kalungu District which is affiliated to Ulbano University, in Rome.
He later earned his degree in Philosophy and Theology and was ordained priest in 1992 by Bishop Henry Ssentongo, who was the auxiliary bishop of Masaka back then and was just about to leave and become Bishop of Moroto Diocese.

In 1993, Fr Jjumba was posted at Mpambire Parish where he served for one year before being posted to Bukalasa Minor Seminary as a teacher.
It was during his teaching period (1993-2000) that he did his Post-graduate Diploma in Education at Makerere University, Kampala.

On April 14, 2000, he was appointed Masaka Diocesan Treasurer, a job he did with remarkable success.
His tenure as treasurer is marked with such big projects as Masaka Jubilee House overlooking the Old Taxi Park in Kampala, the Centenary Bank Branch building in Masaka Town and BAF in Nyendo, Masaka Municipality, among others.
In 2014, he was appointed Vicar General of Masaka Diocese and by virtue of the position, he became a monsignor.

Bishop Kaggwa advises
Moments after Msgr Jjumba’s appointment, Bishop Kaggwa said his successor is going to face an uphill task of winning back a section of the flock that believes in worshiping satan.
“Some Christians in the diocese pretend to be believers yet they worship satan. This is very serious, you cannot believe in witchcraft and at the same time pretend to love God,” he said.

Bishop Kaggwa said during his tenure, he has keenly realised that in every mass he presides over, few Christians take Holy Eucharist -something that has worried him a lot.
“I implore you [Msgr Jjumba] to begin from where I have stopped in spreading the gospel of encouraging Christians to regularise their relationships into marriage,” he said.

Ready for the challenge
Msgr Jjumba said with the mentorship he has attained from Bishop Kaggwa, he will tackle all the challenges ahead of him.
“You [Bishop Kaggwa] have been good in everything, very close to everyone and I do not know whether I will be like you, but I assure you that I will try to resemble you in anything,” he said.
Msgr Jjumba added that one of the challenges he faces is presiding over a diocese undergoing a decline in faith.

“The number of people turning to traditional shrines for worship is increasing. There is growing household poverty among the majority of the Christians. We will need to do a lot of work to change those trends,” he said.
Msgr Jjumba’s promotion to become bishop of Masaka has long been expected given his big influence within the members of the clergy and the laity.

About the diocese

Masaka Diocese covers the districts of Masaka, Kalungu, Sembabule, Lwengo, Bukomansimbi, Rakai, Kyotera, Lyantonde and Kalangala. The past bishops of Masaka Diocese include Bishop Adrian Kivumbi Ddungu, RIP (1962-1998), Archbishop Joseph Kiwanuka Nakabaale, RIP (1939-1961) and Bishop Henri Streicher, RIP (1897-1933) who was succeeded by Archbishop John Baptist Kaggwa.

Voices

Jjumba is the best choice the Pope has made for a new Bishop in Masaka Diocese. He brings along a lot of experience as former educationist in the seminary and a former treasurer of the diocese. He has made a lot of contacts with influential people,” Fr Edward Ssekabanja, the diocesan chancellor.

Jjumba is the best choice the Pope has made for a new Bishop in Masaka Diocese. He brings along a lot of experience as former educationist in the seminary and a former treasurer of the diocese. He has made a lot of contacts with influential people,” Fr Edward Ssekabanja, the diocesan chancellor.

I thank Bishop John Baptist Kaggwa for proposing Msgr Jjumba to Rome and recommending him for appointment as Masaka’s next Bishop,” Fr Herman Joseph Kisekka, the headmaster of Archbishop Kiwanuka Secondary School in Masaka.

Msgr Jjumba is a humble and true man of God,” Mr Damian Kato, the Masaka Diocesan choir master.

Msgr Jjumba is loving, principled, caring and concerned,” Ms Pauline Kisakye, the head prefect of Archbishop Kiwanuka Secondary School.

Additional reporting
by Gertrude Mutyaba

SOURCE: monitor.co.ug