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President Museveni Surprises Prelates with Early Arrival for SECAM Mass

The president arrived at the Church at 8: 40 a.m., ahead of the 10;00 a.m. service. There was nobody to receive him as he matched through the half-empty church quietly with a few bodyguards. A number of organizers were still setting up the Church hall and testing equipment.
Archbishop Lwanga welcoming President Museveni
The organizers of the Symposium of the Episcopal Conference of Africa and Madagascar-SECAM were this morning caught off guard by President Yoweri Museveni’s prompt arrival at Rubaga Cathedral.

The president arrived at the Church at 8: 40 a.m., ahead of the 10;00 a.m. service. There was nobody to receive him as he matched through the half-empty church quietly with a few bodyguards.   A number of organizers were still setting up the Church hall and testing equipment. 

Journalists too never noticed him as many where still setting up their equipment in desired vantage points.  The arrival was moments later noticed by Rev Fr Joseph Ruzindana, one of the day’s Masters of Ceremonies, who immediately alerted colleagues as well as the congregation.  

Rev Ruzidana later related the surprise arrival of the president to the second coming of Jesus. “I think that’s how Jesus will come when nobody is expecting. He will come like a thief in the night, is wise that we stay prepared all the time,” Fr Ruzindana said, sending the president into laughter as he waved to the Church.  

Almost after twenty minutes, a few prelates led The Archbishop of Kampala Dr Cyprian Kizito Lwanga moved in to welcome the president before he stepped out of the Church. The official mass later started at 10; 13 a.m. before he returned.  

All Catholic Bishops of Africa are in Uganda for the18th Plenary Assembly and Golden Jubilee-SECAM which will run up to July 29, under the theme; Church-Family of God in Africa, Celebrate Your Jubilee! Proclaim Jesus Christ Your Savior. President Museveni bought all the robes to be worn by over 300 participants.   

According to Uganda Episcopal Conference, the plenary which will be held at Speke Resort Munyonyo will deliberate on how far the Church in Africa has come in its evangelizing mission. Discussions of the assembly will deliberate on the new pastoral priorities for the Church in Africa by reviewing the journey of SECAM and give direction on where the Church in Africa should be in the next fifty years, in terms of pastoral priorities.   

SECAM was put in place out of the desire of the African Bishops who attended the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), to establish a forum from which the Church in Africa could speak with one voice on matters pertaining to the local and the universal Church. The idea was concretized in July 1969, during the visit of Pope Paul VI to Uganda.