BEGINNINGS, GROWTH AND CONSTANT DEVELOPMENT
Masaka Diocese started as part of a huge Vicariate, then became a Pro–Vicariate, then Vicariate and finally a diocese. The history below is meant to show the beginning, growth and development of this famous and historical diocese that emerged as a singular in its own right in African Church History of the second and third missionary movements. Singular because it was the only Diocese that emerged as such in the whole period from 1482 to 1939 when a vicariate led by a black bishop eventually became a diocese under an indigenous bishop on March 25, 1953.
ESTABLISHING THE HIERARCHY IN 1953
By the Apostolic Constitution Quaem ad Nos, on March 25, 1953, Pope Pius XII, established the Hierarchy in East Africa. The text read in part. “We raise to the dignity of dioceses all the Vicariates Apostolic of British East Africa and divide them into four ecclesiastical provinces, Uganda, Kenya, Dar es Salaam and Tabora. So in Uganda all the existing vicariates became dioceses. Therefore the Vicariate of Uganda became the METROPOLITAN ARCHIDIOCESE OF LUBAGA with the present day dioceses of Masaka, Kampala, Tororo, Gulu and Mbarara (which had been the vicariate of Rwenzori).
Thus on March 25, 1953, Uganda got the following Dioceses, Masaka inclusive
- The Apostolic Vicariate of Uganda became the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Lubaga. Bishop Cabana the former Vicar Apostolic was transferred from the titular See of Sufetula to the Archbishopric of Lubaga.
- The Apostolic Vicariate of Masaka became the Diocese of Masaka. Bishop Joseph Kiwanuka the former Vicar Apostolic was transferred from the titular see of Thibica to Masaka Diocese.
- The Apostolic Vicariate of Kampala became the Diocese of Kampala. Bishop Billington its former Vicar Apostolic was transferred from the titular See of Avissa to Kampala diocese.
- The Apostolic Vicariate of Tororo became the Diocese of Tororo. Bishop Grief, its former Vicar Apostolic was transferred from the Titular See of Balabitene to the Diocese of Tororo.
- The Apostolic Vicariate of Gulu became the Diocese of Gulu. Bishop Cesana its former Vicar Apostolic was transferred from the titular See of Cerbalitan to the Diocese of Gulu.
- The Apostolic Vicariate of Rwenzori became the Diocese of Mbarara. Bishop Lacoursiere was transferred from the titular See of Vulturia to the Diocese of Mbarara.
It was such a wonderful thing that by the time the hierarchy was established in Uganda, we had among the diocesan bishops, one belonged to the indigenous or local clergy, which is Msgr. Joseph Kiwanuka. He was the only one but he was there, respecting the truth that the future held for the country, within a few years, there will be a few missionaries who would be holding the position of the diocesan bishop. The church then would be moving to self-ministering, one of the diocese of Masaka singularly unique in modern African church history.
This is one of the original dioceses in the country that has not yet been divided. Masaka diocese came into being with the Apostolic Constitution Quaem ad mudum ad Nos of Pope Pius XII, on March 25, 1953. Bishop Joseph Kiwanuka was transferred from the titular see of Thibica to Masaka Diocese. He was made the Archbishop of Lubaga in 1961 and was succeeded by Bishop Adrian Kivumbi Ddungu. Bishop Ddungu was appointed bishop of Masaka on November 11, 1961 and was ordained bishop on March 18, 1962 at Bukalasa Minor Seminary by His Grace Msgr. Joseph Kiwanuka. He retired on January 10, 1998 and was succeeded by Bishop John Baptist Kaggwa. Bishop Baptist Kaggwa was appointed coadjutor bishop of Masaka on December 19, 1994 and ordained on June 24, 1994 by Bishop Adrian Kivumbi Ddungu. He took over the governance of the diocese on January 10, 1998. Bishop John Baptist Kaggwa retired on March 16, 2019. On April 16, 2019, Bishop Serverus Jjumba was appointed Bishop of Masaka Diocese. He was ordained Bishop on July 6, 2019 by Bishop John Baptist Kaggwa assisted by Bishop Joseph Antony Zziwa (Bishop of Kiyinda Mityana Diocese), Bishop Lambert Bainomugisha (Auxilliary Bishop of Mbarara Archdiocese), Archbishop Luigi Bianco (Apostolic Nincio to Uganda) and Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga (Archbishop of Kampala Archdiocese).