Bells Draw Hundreds to Sudden Death of Archbishop Lwanga

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Joseph Wasswa, one of those responsible for ringing bells at the cathedral, explains that they ring the bell differently to communicate a specific message to the faithfuls.
03 Apr 2021 16:16
Some of the faithful in tears after learning about the death of Archbishop Lwanga

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/// Ambiance …bells ringing///      

Hundreds of faithfuls from different areas of Kampala flocked Rubaga Cathedral, the seat of Kampala Archdiocese at the sound of church bells on Saturday, to announce the sudden death of the Archbishop, Cyprian Kizito Lwanga.  The Archbishop, who participated in the ecumenical way of the cross at Namirembe Anglican diocese on Good Friday, was found dead in his bed in Rubaga on Saturday morning.   


News of his death started as a rumor on social media but was later confirmed by Rev. Fr. Pius Male, the Chancellor of Kampala Archdiocese. Thereafter bells started ringing as one of the ways of communicating the sad news to Christians. A relatively young boy, selling sacramental at the church, didn’t know the meaning of the bells and looked confused why the bells were ringing when the church is closed. 

However, elderly men and women doing the same job started wailing and crying while another started reciting the Prayer for the Faithful departed. Joseph Wasswa, one of those responsible for ringing bells at the cathedral, explains that they ring the bell differently to communicate a specific message to the faithfuls.    

He says that normally, bells inviting faithfuls for mass or prayer are rung for a short time with several interludes in between them. He adds that those that are announcing bad news are continuous and ring for a long period. For instance, while announcing the death of the Archbishop, the bell rang from 1:23 pm to 2:30 pm.        

//Cue in: “lwaki tukubye…   


Cue out…mumaaso muntiko.”//   


Edward Ssentongo, an elderly resident at Butikiro road was among the many that came by leaps and bounds after hearing the bells. He says that he knew that these were not the usual bells and rushed to the cathedral to find out what had happened.   

//Cue in: “Era bino bibadde…

Cue out…afudde.”//  

Several people including clerics dashed to the Cathedral both on foot, Boda boda, and private vehicles shedding tears and gathered in the church compound as the bells continued ringing.

John Muwembe Kalanda, one of the contractors at the Archdiocese and personal friend to the deceased Archbishop, says that he was notified by his son who is in Mauritius about his passing and called his sister to confirm the news.  


Luganda byte    

//Cue in; “Amawulire gano…

Cue out…mangu nnyo”//    

English byte     

//Cue in: “The archbishop and…    

Cue out…going on.”//   

Josephine Nagadya, a volunteer at the church, says that there was suspicious movement of priests around the cathedral from around 10:00 am. At first, she thought that they were arranging for the Easter mass only to learn that the Archbishop had died. 

//Cue in; “nze mbadde wano…    

Cue out…embeera mbi.”//  


About the deceased     

Archbishop Lwanga, 68, has been the third Archbishop of Kampala ever since the Metropolitan see was created in 1966 when the pope merged part of the Diocese of Kampala and the Archdiocese of Rubaga.

Lwanga succeeded Cardinal Emmanuel Wamala in 2006 when the latter resigned after clocking the mandatory 75-years of age.   Before his appointment, he had served as the first ordinary of Kasana-Luwero Diocese. Born in 1953, Lwanga attended Kyabakadde Primary School.

He entered Nyenga Seminary in 1964.   Between 1972 and 1974, he studied at Katigondo National Major Seminary before joining Ggaba National Seminary for his theological studies.  In 1978, he was ordained priest at the age of 25.   

The following year, he was admitted at the University of Clermont-Ferrand in France, where he studied administration and languages. Later, he went to the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome, where in 1994, he earned a doctorate in Canon Law.  

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