AS KISUBI PARISH CELEBRATES 125 YEARS, St. MARY’S COLLEGE, KISUBI (SMACK) IS PROUD OF HAVING BEEN ASSOCIATED WITH IT FOR 97 YEARS.
Editor: William Kituuka Kiwanuka
SMACK OB (1974 - 1979)
Since 1924 when St. Mary’s College relocated to Kisubi from Lubaga, the School and its community have enjoyed cordial, brotherly relation, and the Parish has through the years been given its due respect equivalent to that of a parent in the sense that whenever the school needed land for expanding, the Parish readily acknowledged the need and acted positively and, at the same time the Parish Church has played the role of Spiritual guidance and more so, identified members of SMACK staff who have played big roles in areas like the creation of new Sub - parishes, joining the Church Choir, and other missions where they were called to serve through the 97 years during which SMACK has been at Kisubi.
The whole hill of Kisubi was given to the missionaries by Kabaka Muteesa I in 1880. This gift was later confirmed by Muteesa’s successor Kabaka Mwanga II.
To get to appreciate the 125 years of Kisubi Parish (Our Lady Queen of Virgins), it is important to know the milestones through which the Parish has gone to date. The Parish was founded in 1896. The construction work of the present Parish Church started in 1911 and it was completed in 1913. This Church besides being built as a Parish Church was also built as a ‘pilotchurch’ for the future Lubaga Cathedral.
Since the foundation of Kisubi Parish, many other Church institutions have been established on the hill. These institutions include: Religious houses, schools, Health care centres, centres for socializing to mention some. The variety of institutions point to the integral nature of the Church’s Evangelizing Mission. The mission is not only limited to the soul, but also the body and mind.
We acknowledge the roles Kisubi Parish has played in the 125 years of its existence - the Parish’s milestones.
In the Magazine of Kisubi Parish’s Centenary (Musizi) in 1996, the Very Reverend Father Lazaro Bustince, who was the Regional Superior - Missionaries of Africa wrote, “I have a lot of pleasure and gratitude for Kisubi Parishioners and all who went through the institutions on Kisubi Hill on the occasion of Kisubi Parish’s centenary - that is, since the light of Christ got to shine in Kisubi. I have a lot of gratitude for you on behalf of the White Fathers (Missionaries of Africa). Praise be to God by saying “Deo gratias”.
Kisubi Parish area of jurisdiction has a number of historically important events for which all need to be proud of”.
I am quite sure that the Very Reverend Father Lazaro Bustince’s words make a lot of sense today as Kisubi Parish celebrates 125 years, and I am convinced that the same message can serve for the White Fathers as we celebrate the 125 years.
Msgr. Guillermain relocated the first Seminary in Uganda from Lubaga to Kisubi on 26th December 1895, and he handed it over to Pere Marcou as head.
In 1910 Msgr Streicher sent Brother Martin and Pere Gacon to start works on making bricks and tiles, the first of the kind in Uganda from which the bricks and tiles for the construction of Kisubi Parish Church were made, and thereafter, for the construction of Lubaga Cathedral.
In 1911 the first Technical School in Uganda was started - Kisubi Technical School. There were 11 pioneer students. It was headed by Brother (Frera) Cypriano who was skilled in drawing building plans and the art of building. He built Lubaga Cathedral.
Frère Herman came with one Sewing machine, the first one in Uganda. He came with it on the head from Bagamoyo in Tanzania. That helped the expansion of Kisubi Technical as teaching in sewing and shoe making was enhanced.
From then on, Catholic based institutions started having activities on Kisubi Hill.
White Sisters - Missionaries of Our Lady of Africa started a health facility in 1904, the current Kisubi Hospital. The Sisters of Ggogonya are the administrators.
St. Mary’s College, Kisubi was transferred from Lubaga in 1924 and in 1926 handed by the White Fathers to the Brothers of Christian Instruction as teachers and administrators.
In 1955, Sisters of St. Peter Claver were given the mandate to manage Marianum Press.
Bannakaroli Brothers of Kiteredde and those of Amans Auxilliary Brothers have all played a big role in evangelism from Kisubi.
Other Catholic founded institutions that have been established on Kisubi Hill include:
St. Savio Junior School in 1955; St. Ssebuggwawo Primary School in 1927; St. Teresa Girls’ School by the White Sisters in 1926; Michelangelo School of Creative Artists in 1993; Kisubi Domestic Science Training School in 1981; Kisubi Brothers came to Uganda under the Brothers of Christian Instruction. They came from Canada in 1926 to relieve the White Fathers who were teaching in St. Mary’s College, Kisubi so that the Fathers would then concentrate on pastoral work. The other institutions include the Sisters of Mary Reparatrix. This category of Sisters was started by Late Archbishop Louis Joseph Cabana in 1948. The Late Archbishop was buried at Ggogonya; Kisubi Mapeera was started in 1999 at Kawuku as a private school. Afterwards, it relocated to the current position opposite St. Joseph Technical Institute; the University of Kisubi was started in 2004 by the Brothers of Christian Instruction. It is at Mt. St. Teresa.
It is important to remember that on April 13, 2012 Kabaka Muwenda Muteb II visited Kisubi Hill and was hosted at St. Mary’s College, Kisubi for his 57th Birthday.
In 1981, all the Catholic Church institutions on Kisubi Hill were affected by the aftermath of Late Andrew Kayiira’s invasion on Malire (Lubiri) Army barracks. Uganda Government security got intelligence information that the casualties had been ferried along Lake Victoria to Kisubi Hospital. And, according to that intelligence, it was alleged that the wounded men had received treatment at Late Brother Cosmas Kafeero’s Kisubi Hospital. By then Brother Kafeero was the Headmaster at SMACK.
Brother Kafeero was at the same time accused of publishing Munno and Musizi where articles criticizing the Government were run. A letter dated January 7, 1982 was dropped in the compound of Kisubi Parish Church. The letter summoned Brother Kafeero to a meeting at Abaita Ababiri. A week after the meeting, another letter was dropped at Kisubi Parish Church. The letter this time instructed Brother Kafeero to summon all people on Kisubi Hill to be addressed. The instructions to attend included: St. Mary’s College, Kisubi; Savio School; Kisubi Hospital; Kisubi Parish; Mt. St. Teresa; Kisubi Boys. The others included: St. Joseph’s Technical Institute, Kisubi Seminary and Ggogonya Convent. All the parties as invited assembled at St. Mary’s College Main Football ground.
There had been a Police Post which was initially located at Mt. St. Teresa, then in front of the Main Football pitch at SMACK. It so happened that insecurity increased when General Edward Wamala was the Inspector General of Police. A letter was written to the General to put up a Police Force to better manage the security. SMACK extended the piece of land where the Police Station is located for Kisubi area.
Ever since St. Mary's College was transferred from Lubaga to Kisubi in 1924, the College has had good relations with the Parish in particular as regards participating in activities and functions proposed by the Parish. On the Corpus Christi Sunday festivities to mark the solemnity of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, the students would come with the School Band with trumpets and other musical instruments which they would play at the Consecration part of the Mass and eventually the same Band would lead the Holy procession which generally took place after Mass. The Cadets forming this Band were usually led by the Late Francis Pulle, then a student at St. Mary's, who used to be the Drum Major or leader of the Marching Band.
Due to the good co-operation, several important ceremonies and functions programmed at the Parish took place at SMACK. In the past, Priestly Ordinations would take place in the Ordinands' Home Parish. However, in 1952 the Parish organized the Ordination Ceremony of Rev. Fr. Matia Mukasa (RIP) at St. Mary's College Kisubi.
Reflecting on SMACK - Kisubi Parish relations over the years, it is important to reflect on the events of November, 14 1964 when 12 lads perished following an accident along Entebbe Highway. The students were from Wankulukuku where SMACK had scored 2 - 1 goal by St. Henry’s College, Kitovu. Reverend Brother Paul Bourget was the Headmaster when the accident happened. “Thy will be done”, was the sigh Rev. Brother Paul heaved at 7.30pm on the fateful night of November 14, 1964, when he received the sad and sudden news of a disaster 12 miles on Entebbe Highway. The death touched all the institutions that were on Kisubi Hill at the time.
With a sorrowful heart, as he set about his arduous duties under the most trying circumstances, he had to create order and calmness from utter chaos and confusion that followed the accident, make the program to deliver the bodies to the parents, and arrangements for the Requiem Mass for the repose of the souls of the deceased boys.
Kisubi Parish Church readily organized for a Solemn Requiem Mass for the repose of the souls of the boys who had died. This was on the evening of Monday, November 16, 1964. It is important to note that the bodies were not brought to the Church, most had been taken for burial on Sunday, November 15. The Mass was overcrowded given the Government Officials, Church representatives, representatives from Mulago and Entebbe Medical staff, staff members and students from various educational institutions, who turned up for the Requiem Mass. Late Reverend Father Emmanuel Kibirige later (Msgr) was the Main Celebrant. Dr. Luyimbazi Zaake, then Minister of Education represented the Government. And in all, not less than 2,000 people attended. That time, the student population at SMACK was 451.
The area St. Mary’s College, Kisubi occupies has greatly increased in acreage over the years. Credit goes to the brotherhood of the two institutions. In the 1930’s, the Parish re - located Mulisi Nswemu RIP who was staying around where the Physics Laboratory, Swimming Pool and Food Science Laboratory are. Nswemu who was by then a Primary School Teacher was re - located to below the Dormitory area. He eventually took up farming for a number of years until he died.
From 1926 to 1950, SMACK had only Brothers of Christian Instruction as teachers. In 1951, J. C. Kiwanuka was posted to the school as a Lay graduate teacher. He was given simple accommodation which eventually proved unfit for him. In 1952, J. C. met Brother Loius Chounard who was the Headmaster and he requested for a more befitting accommodation. The Headmaster reached out to the Ministry of Education for financial assistance to be able to put up accommodation for lay teachers. The Parish allocated land near Mile 15, and three tiled bungalows were built and J. C. Kiwanuka was the first beneficiary. The Late Kyotogule who was staying in that area was re - located to Ziika across Entebbe Highway opposite the three newly built houses.
In 1953, White Sisters who were the proprietors of St. John’s Junior School wanted to phase it out. The Old Boys of St. Mary’s College, Kisubi led by J. C. Kiwanuka who was the President of their Association reached out to Archbishop Louis Joseph Cabana at Lubaga, they discussed the matter of starting a Junior school at Kisubi. Archbishop Cabana was positive and that paved way for Savio School. In 1955, Savio School became a reality. Antonio Kyazze who was staying where Savio School is located was re - located opposite Savio School across Entebbe Highway.
During the earlier days of SMACK, the School Chaplains were being accommodated at Kisubi Parish Church. Rev. Father Matia Mukasa and Rev. Father Fleskens fall in that category.
For a good number of years, St. Mary's College, Kisubi had been deprived of a Sports grounds to host football matches and various Sporting competitions. In 1951 the real sports ground was ceded to the construction of the College's Main Administrative building. It was in 1956, SMACK’s Golden Jubilee year when the construction of the current Main Sports grounds was done. Otherwise, SMACK used to hold its Sports activities in the St. Dionizio Ssebugwawo Primary School Sports ground.
When the Founder Headmaster of St. Mary's College Kisubi, Rev. Fr. Modest Raux, a one time Parish Priest of Kisubi Parish (in 1934), died in 1965, the Requiem Mass was held at Kisubi Parish Church and burial at Kisubi Parish Church Cemetery.
When Pope Paul VI visited Uganda in 1969 SMACK teamed up with Kisubi Parish to construct a magnificent Triumphal Arch at Savio and especially jointly contributed to the very fine paintings that adorned the arch.
St. Mary’s College Kisubi (SMACK) and Kisubi Catholic Parish have, over the years enjoyed a cordial relationship, there were instances, most especially on one selected Sunday in a year, the College Choir (Cherubim) would animate Mass at the Parish Church in what would be termed “The Visit to the Parish.” A group of students would be selected from each class to represent the College at the Parish Church.
Within the framework of the co-operation, several staff members and employees of St. Mary's College Kisubi that is: J. C. Kiwanuka (RIP), Teacher Katende (RIP), Former Librarian Kibuuka William and Laboratory Technician John Semwezi participated in various leadership positions at the Parish:
J. C. Kiwanuka was treasurer at Kisubi Parish for more than 25 years, and he was one of the founders of Kawuku Sub - Parish station;
Teacher Katende was Chairman of the Laity at Kisubi Parish;
Mr. William Kibuuka was for sometime was Secretary of Kisubi Parish;
Mr. John Semwezi was at one time Chairman of the Laity at Zziru Sub - Parish.
St. Mary’s College, Kisubi is sincerely thankful to God for the 125 years of Kisubi Parish. Glory be to God.
DUC IN ALTUM