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Recollecting Memories of Late Bishop Henry Ssentongo

The late Bishop Ssentongo who died at 83, at Nsambya Hospital in Kampala was ordained a priest in December 1963, and later appointed and consecrated Bishop in March 1989. After serving as Bishop of Moroto Diocese for 22 years and clocking the mandatory age of active service, he was eventually retired in 2014.
Bishop Henry Ssentongo retired of Moroto diocese, He is dean (File Photo)

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The Catholic Church in Uganda on Thursday woke up to the sad news of the death of the retired Bishop of Moroto Diocese Henry Apaloryamam Ssentongo. 

The late Bishop Ssentongo who died at 83, at Nsambya Hospital in Kampala was ordained a priest in December 1963, and later appointed and consecrated Bishop in March 1989. After serving as Bishop of Moroto Diocese for 22 years and clocking the mandatory age of active service, he was eventually retired in 2014. 

At Our Lady of Victory Biikira Parish in Kyotera district, Masaka diocese where Bishop Ssentongo was in his retirement, different people recount memories about the fallen prelate. 

One of his last public appearances was in early this year, as he celebrated mass at St Vincent Palloti Transitory Nursing Home for People with Disability; located at Kitovu in Masaka district. 

In his homily during the event, Bishop Ssentongo reminded the congregation to always strive to prepare for the last days of life by remaining rooted in their faith as well as shunning all unrighteous conduct.

//Cue in; nga bwetunajjukira…

Cue out: …….okutuuka okwesiima.”//  

Reverend Brother James Lwanga, of the Congregation of St Charles Lwanga (Bannakaroli Brothers) who has lived with Bishop Ssentongo as a Personal Assistant for the last four years, has described the late as a humble-jolly man in a cassock who always tolerated people of different categories and aspired to put a smile of other people’s faces.

He explains that despite him being in retirement and living a rest house in Biikira Parish, Bishop Ssentongo continued to perform his priestly roles in the area, and accepted to perform all delegated responsibilities given to him by the area Parish priest who was even below him in status.  

Brother Lwanga recounts that although Bishop Ssentongo had started weakening in body, he was not known of self-pity and always involved himself in doing house chores alongside his helpers at the rest house, until in March this year when his situation warranted him being transferred for further medical attention in Kampala. 

He says that in his retirement, Bishop Ssentongo has visited all the 17 sub parishes in Bikiira Parish where he had performed many functions including blessing weddings, burials, Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation among others. 

//Cue in; “the period he has….  

Cue out….be with him.”//

Luganda  //Cue in; “abadde akakola….  

Cue out…..obw’amanyi.”//   

John Baptist Sserwadda, a Catechist in Bikiira parish says that Bishop Sentongo's demise is a great loss to the servants he always inspired and guided them to stay committed to their spiritual services.   He also recalls that the late Ssentongo has been an ardent advocate of Christians still engaged in cohabitation to have formalize their marriage in Church.  

//Cue in; “Bishop Ssentongo…

Cue out……buli walaga.”//  

Reverend Sister Maria Kizza Namagembe, of the Congregation of Daughters of Mary currently serving at Bikira Primary School says that the late Bishop Ssentongo has been father to them and tirelessly guided them.  

According to a statement issued by Monsgnior John Kauta, the Secretary General of the Uganda Episcopal Conference, the late Bishop Ssentongo will buried on Monday December 16 at Bukalasa Minor Seminary Cemetery in Kalungu district.