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First African Apostolic Nuncio Retires After Clocking 75

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The Canon Law requires Catholic prelates to submit their resignation letters from the pastoral governance of their dioceses, or any other duties, to the Pontiff after clocking the mandatory retirement age of 75 years
20 Sep 2021 13:06
Archbishop Augustine Kasujja
Archbishop Augustine Kasujja, the first native African to be appointed Apostolic Nuncio by the Vatican has retired.

The Canon Law requires Catholic prelates to submit their resignation letters from the pastoral governance of their dioceses, or any other duties, to the Pontiff after clocking the mandatory retirement age of 75 years. As a principal, Archbishop Kasujja who turned 75 on April 26 this year submitted his resignation which was accepted by the Pope on August 31, according to Vatican press office publications. 

“The Holy Father has accepted the resignation from the office of apostolic Nuncio in Belgium and Luxembourg presented by Archbishop Augustine Kasujja, titular of Caesarea in Numidia,” the Holy See communicated.

After the acceptance of his resignation, Kasujja had an audience with the Pontiff before his pilgrimage to Hungary and Slovakia. In the said audience were other Vatican top diplomats including; Sandri Cardinal Leonardo, Vice Dean of the College of Cardinals, and Archbishop Christopher Pierre, the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States of America and former Nuncio to Uganda.

An Apostolic Nuncio is the title for an envoy or permanent diplomatic representative of the Holy See to a state or international organization. Until 1998, not a single African had served in this position. Just as Archbishop Joseph Kiwanuka pioneered African episcopacy, Kasujja also opened gates for the continent through this awe-inspiring accomplishment.

Before his appointment to the rank, Kasujja who was ordained priest by Pope Paul V in St Peter's Basilica in 1973 had already been prepared thanks to the wisdom of Emmanuel Cardinal Nsubuga recommended him to join the prestigious Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy in Rome.

After completing the four-year training studies at the Vatican diplomatic institute, Kasujja started his diplomatic journey when he was appointed as the first secretary to the Apostolic Nunciature in Argentina. He moved to Haiti, Bangladesh, Portugal, Peru, and Trinidad and Tobago. In 1995, he was appointed Charge D’affaires at the Vatican embassy in Algiers and it’s from that post where news of his appointment as Apostolic Nuncio to Tunisia and Algeria found him on May 26, 1998.

As a requirement; to serve in such an office, one is supposed to be at the rank of an Archbishop and therefore the Roman Pontiff appointed him Titular Archbishop of Caesarea in Numidia. He soon returned home for his Episcopal Consecration that took place at Rubaga Cathedral with Emmanuel Cardinal Wamala as the principal consecrator.

Shortly after, he was appointed as Nuncio in Madagascar and several other countries in the Indian ocean including Comoros, Seychelles, and Mauritius. In 2010, he was transferred to Nigeria and in 2015 he was given the an additional responsibility of being the permanent observer to the Economic Community of West African States.

In November 2016 Pope Francis appointed him as the first non-European Nuncio to Belgium and Luxembourg where he has served up to his retirement. Has been one out of two Uganda-born prelates serving outside Uganda the other one being Bishop Joseph Kizito, the reigning ordinary of Aliwal, South Africa.

Biography

Archbishop Augustine Kasujja, Apostolic Nuncio Emeritus to Belgium, was born on April 26, 1946, by Katalina Nanseko and Yozefu Naluswa in Mitala Maria, Mpigi district. He started his education at Ssango and Mitala Maria Primary Schools, before joining Kisubi Minor Seminary in 1960.

In 1966, he progressed to Katigondo Major Seminary and was sent to Urban University, Rome where he spent eight years studying. He was ordained a priest by Pope Paul VI at St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican on January 6, 1973, for the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Kampala. This made him one of the very few Uganda priests to have been ordained by the Holy Father.

In 1974 he returned to Uganda and was appointed as assistant parish priest at Mubende and Katende and in the following year, he joined the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy.   

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