As the sun went down on January 20, news of the passing of the Emeritus Bishop of Masaka Catholic Diocese, Rt. Rev. John Baptist Kaggwa came in.
The prelate has been hospitalized at Mulago National Referral Hospital since December 18, 2020 when he got admitted at the hospital’s intensive care unit with Covid-19.
The news of his death was announced by the diocesan chancellor, Rev. Fr. Edward Ssekabanja.
“We are saddened to announce that our beloved bishop emeritus has returned to the lord. And as a diocese, we ask the faithful to keep us in prayers so that the Lord sees us through this trying moment,” Rev. Fr. Ssekabanja said in a brief statement.
Kaggwa was admitted days after his successor, Bishop Serverus Jjumba had been discharged from the same hospital following weeks of treatment of the deadly Covid-19.
During one of his last public appearances in June last year, the man of God who was celebrating his episcopate silver jubilee asked both the clergy and laity to continue praying for him.
Bishop Kaggwa, the third ordinary of Masaka retired in April 2019 after clocking the mandatory 75 years as the catholic canon law requires.
He had served 23 years in the position formerly held by two famous men; Archbishop Joseph Nakabaale Kiwanuka – the first African bishop, south of the Sahara, and Bishop Adrian Kivumbi Dungu.
He was born on March 22, 1943, to the late Matia Ssentamu and Ferista Nazziwa in Bulenga, Busiro, Wakiso district. He is the second, born to a family of 14 siblings; seven girls and seven boys. He went to Ssumbwe infant school and Rubaga boys’ primary school before he was enrolled in Kisubi Seminary in 1958.
In 1964, he joined Katigondo major seminary where he spent one and half years before Archbishop Kiwanuka sent him to Urban University, Rome for further studies in philosophy and theology. In 1966 he acquired a master’s degree in both studies.
Bishop Kaggwa became a deacon in 1970 while in Rome and in august of the same year he came returned to Uganda and was allocated to Busuubi parish for pastoral work and was ordained a priest on December 12, 1971, and was sent to serve in Rubaga parish.
In 1976, He began Gaba Major Seminary as its first rector and led it for eight years together with Fr. Exepdito Ssempijja, Dr David Kyeyune among others and in 1983 he was sent To St Mary Mary’s College Kisubi to teach Latin.
In 1985, he went back to Rome to learn civil and canon law where he obtained a Master’s Degree in the studies. While there he was made vice-rector of one of the papal colleges and by 1995 he had obtained a PhD in civil and canon law.
Pope John Paul II chose him on 24 June 1995 to be a coadjutor bishop to Bishop Adrian Kivumbi Ddungu who was also his principal concreter on the event which took place in Kitovu cathedral church. He served with bishop Ddungu up to 1998.
When Bishop Ddungu retired on January 10, the Pope named Kaggwa as the new bishop to the diocese of Masaka and was consecrated on the cathedral of bishop stretcher at Villa Maria.
Besides being the Bishop of the Masaka diocese he has also served as the committee chairperson of priestly formation and institutes of consecrated life on the Episcopal Conference of Uganda from 1995.