The Congregation of Holy Cross's District of East Africa rejoiced as five of their men recently made their Final Vows and were ordained Deacons. In addition, eight other members were ordained priests.
It was a proud day for the St. Brendan’s Parish Community in Kitete, Tanzania, as it hosted the Final Vows and Diaconate Ordinations of two of their “home sons” and three other religious on September 25, 2020. This was the first time such a ceremony took place for Holy Cross in Tanzania, since the Congregation began its Kitete mission in 2000.
The five seminarians who professed their Final Vows were: Mr. Erasto Moshi Mao, C.S.C., Mr. Gerald Kityo, C.S.C., Mr. John Baptist Ssemaganda, C.S.C., Mr. Nichodemus H. Guerino, C.S.C., and Mr. Peter Qorro, C.S.C. Fr. Cyprian Binaka, District Superior received their vows and the following day, the Most Rev. Anthony Lagewen, Bishop of the Diocese of Mbulu, conferred the Order of Diaconate on the newly finally professed.
Deacon Erasto Moshi Mao was born into a family of eight children. As a member of St. Brendan’s Parish in Kitete, Tanzania, he professed his First Vows in 2015. Deacon Erasto understands religious life as one of service and of being a close follower of Jesus Christ. He is especially grateful for all those who accompanied him on this faith journey. Deacon Erasto will continue his journey as a deacon at Holy Cross Parish in Bugembe, Uganda.
Deacon Gerald Kityo comes from the Archdiocese of Kampala. In addition to his seven siblings, he has three step-siblings. Having completed six years of temporary profession, Deacon Gerald did his pastoral year at Holy Cross Parish in Dandora, Kenya, where his gift of music was greatly appreciated. Deacon Gerald will join the staff at Lakeview Secondary School in Jinja, Uganda.
Deacon John Baptist Ssemaganda is from Masuliita, Uganda, one of seven children, he was inspired to pursue his vocation by his pastor when he was an altar server. Having joined the candidacy program in 2011, he attributes his perseverance in Holy Cross to his prayer life and the support of his family. Deacon John Baptist will begin his ministry at Sacred Heart Parish, Sombetini, Arusha.
Deacon Nichodemus H. Guerino is from Sumbawanga, Tanzania. He entered Holy Cross after completing his college studies and professed his First Vows in 2015. Deacon Nicodeumus has had broad ministerial experiences from parishes and schools to prisons. His desire is “to be an exemplary educator in the faith.” Deacon Nicodemus will now call Kitete home as he joins the staff at St. Brendan’s Parish.
Deacon Peter Qorro, one of nine children, also is from St. Brendan’s Parish in Kitete, where he was an altar server. Professing his First Vows in 2015, he has done ministry in Dandora and Arusha where he found bringing Communion to the sick especially enriching in his vocation. Deacon Peter looks forward to his diaconate year at St. Joseph Hill Secondary School in Kyarusozi, Uganda.
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In addition, Bishop Lagewen also ordained to the priesthood six Holy Cross deacons from Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda: Fr. Andréw Mulema, C.S.C., Fr. Francis Bizaaba, C.S.C., Fr. Gabriel Lulu, C.S.C., Fr. Godfrey Zassawe, C.S.C., Fr. Stephen Mburu, C.S.C, and Fr. Stephen Salongo, C.S.C.
Simultaneously, at the faraway Holy Cross Novitiate in Lake Saaka, Uganda, an additional two religious were also ordained to the priesthood by the Most Rev. Robert Muhiurwa, Bishop of the Diocese of Fort Portal. Fr. Julius Mumbere, C.S.C., and Fr. Ponsiano Walugembe, C.S.C., both are native Ugandans.
The newly ordained priests have been assigned to ministry throughout the District.
In Tanzania, Fr. Mulema will join the team at St. Felistas Parish in Utegi while St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Mwanza will welcome Fr. Bizaaba. The Archdiocese of Arusha will gain Fr. Salongo, who is assigned to the St. André Postulant House, and Fr. Mburu who will serve at Sacred Heart Parish in Sombetini.
In Uganda, Fr. Mumbere will minister at St. Jude Tadeo Parish in Kyarusozi and Fr. Walgemebe at Holy Cross Parish in Bugemba, Jinja. Fr. Lulu will join the novitiate staff at Lake Saaka.
Lastly, Fr. Massawe will be part of the pastoral team at Holy Cross Parish in Dandora, Nairobi, in Kenya.