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Masaka Bishop Directs Burial of Priests in Backcloths

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According to Bishop Jjumba, embracing the use of backcloths in the burial of priests will emphasize the existing interrelation between the Church and Ganda traditions, which has been misconstrued by many people who perceive culture as devilish.
Masaka Diocese Catholic Bishop Serverus Jjumba (Courtesy Photo)

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Right Reverend Serverus Jjumba, the Bishop Masaka Catholic Diocese has issued a decree directing the use of backcloth as part of burial garments for priests in the diocese.

He says that the traditional Ganda wear is included among the burial garments as a symbol of respect to culture. He announced the directive on Thursday at Bukalasa priest’s cemetery in Kalungu district during the burial of Reverend Monsignor, Joseph Kato Ssempungu, the former Vicar General of Masaka Diocese, on whom the norm began.

According to Bishop Jjumba, embracing the use of backcloths in the burial of priests will emphasize the existing interrelation between the Church and Ganda traditions, which has been misconstrued by many people who perceive culture as devilish.

Ideally, bodies of priests are dressed in their official attires that include among other their liturgical chasubles usually as the last cloths, before the remains are put in the caskets for burial. But Bishop Jjumba says that the backcloth will be the last wrapping garment on the body before it is eventually placed into the casket. 

//Cue in; (Luganda) “kyakuyiga kirungi …..   




Cue out; …..tugende nakyo.”//  

Notably, the Right Reverend Serverus Jjumba the third Bishop of Masaka Catholic Diocese could be rightly following the footsteps and philosophies of his predecessor, Bishop Adrian Kivumbu Ddugu who was also an ardent advocate of Traditional African cultural norms, which he regularly integrated into the Catholic faith.

Some of Ddungu’s memorable deeds that initially appeared weird were his free participation in the last funeral rites ritual, the Ganda traditional practice he also encouraged during his lifetime (1962-1998). Bishop Ddungu also started the practice of priests being installed as heirs of deceased persons in traditional ceremonies, something many people had not witnessed or even imagined of.          

Backcloths are produced from the back of trees. In Buganda, Backcloths are used for traditional rituals including burials.