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After 58-Years of Training Priests, Monsignor Kyabukasa Goes to Rest

Arguably the longest-serving priest formator in Uganda, Msgr Kyabukasa, a biological brother to Emmanuel Cardinal Wamala, has spent 58-years of his life preparing future priests, a job he has done until his death which occurred on Wednesday at villa Maria hospital in Masaka.
Monsignor Henry Kyabukasa

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The Catholic Church is mourning the demise of Monsignor Henry Kyabukasa, a renowned trainer of priests and teacher at the prestigious Holy Family, a minor Seminary commonly referred to as Bukalasa.

Arguably the longest-serving priest formator in Uganda, Msgr Kyabukasa, a biological brother to Emmanuel Cardinal Wamala, has spent 58-years of his life preparing future priests, a job he has done until his death which occurred on Wednesday at villa Maria hospital in Masaka.

Born in 1929 to Cosma Kyamera and Teresa Namayanja, at Kamaggwa Village, Lwankoni Sub-county, Kyabukasa attained his dream of being a priest in 1959 when Bishop (later Archbishop) Joseph Kiwanuka ordained him. This was two years after his elder brother Wamala had been ordained priest in Rome.

Besides Nkoni parish where he spent about four months as a curator, Kyabukasa spent the rest of his life as a teacher. Rev Fr Joseph Kasangaki, a curator at Kalungu Parish, says that very few priests currently serving in the Masaka Diocese have not been taught by this great man.     

“...He was also a teacher at Katigondo thus his legacy goes past Masaka Diocese to the entire country and East Africa as a region,” says Rev Fr Kasangaki adding that even in his old age when he could barely walk, Msgr Kyabukasa had not given up on his calling; teaching English, History, and Latin to students who attended class from his room at the seminary.

Kyabukasa’s interaction with the seminary began in 1944 when he was admitted as a student for his Junior Secondary and Senior Secondary classes before joining the nearby St Thomas of Aquinas Major Seminary, Katigondo.        

After eight years of priestly training at Katigondo, the then sole national seminary in the country, Kyabukasa was ordained priest but soon Bishop (later Archbishop) Kiwanuka sent him alongside Fr Peter Musomero to study a Diploma in Education at Makerere University, Kampala. This was the start of his long journey as a priest formator.

At Makerere, Kyabukasa studied English, History, and Mathematics and after completing his diploma, in 1962, he was posted to St Henry’s College Kitovu where his elder brother,  the late Michael Aidan Mulabannaku, from the Brothers of Christian Instruction, was also a teacher. 

In two years, Brother Mulabannaku became the first African headteacher at St Henry’s College. But Kyabukasa had been appointed teacher at Bukalasa where he was to spend the rest of his life. Before taking over his roles at the seminary, he went for further studies at the University Of Oxford, the UK where he obtained a degree in English and History in 1967. 

For his exceptional service, the Pontiff granted him the title of Monsignor. Although this title carries no office, in the Roman Catholic Church, it signifies a priest who has distinguished himself and has been honoured by the Pope for his service to the church.

Reverend Father Dr Joseph Namukangula, 83, one of the priests’ instructors at Bukalasa minor Seminary says there are not enough words he can use to describe Kyabukasa’s commitment to a priestly vocation and teaching. He loved the students and he was very committed to his work,” he noted.

Reverend Father Simon Peter Kafeero one of the deceased’s former students describes them as a great instructors who very much respected time, who also had rare traits of tolerance to all situations.    

//Cue in; nga tawandiika…  

Cue out….abadde asomesa.”//

Reverend Father Francis Sales Mugerwa, the Rector Bukalasa Minor Seminary says preparations are ongoing to grant Monsignor Kyabukasa a befitting burial      

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