Dr Lwanga will be the third prelate to be buried inside Rubaga Cathedral. The first prelate to be buried in there was Bishop Edouard Michaud, a Canadian Clergyman who was one of the priest missionaries known as White Fathers. He was the vicar Apostolic of Uganda from 1933 until he died in 1945.
Inside the same church are the remains of Dr Joseph Kiwanuka, the first native African to be ordained a Catholic bishop in modern times who died in 1966 five years after his appointment as Archbishop of Rubaga.
The two are laid to rest on the right-wing of the church just behind the area reserved for the choir. Msgr Kasibante says Archbishop Lwanga will on Thursday be laid in the middle of the two of his ‘fore grandfathers’.
Msgr Gerald Kalumba, one of the senior priests in the archdiocese and former vicar general, notes that it is has been a tradition of the church to bury (Arch)bishops in the cathedrals they served.
“It is the tradition and in many times bishops who served in that particular cathedral are worthy of being buried in there,” says Msgr Kalumba.
He, however, adds that this might vary depending on other circumstances. “In some cases, if the (Arch)bishop left a Will indicating a place where he wishes to be buried, his Will is honored,” he added citing the example of Emmanuel Cardinal Nsubuga who ‘humbled’ himself by making a Will to be buried at the Bakateyamba Home which he founded.
According to information obtained from different catholic church sites, in many cathedrals, there are areas called crypts already set aside to bury the prelate. This concept of building crypts is said to have been drawn from the persecution of Christians and the believers who were buried in these caves when they died. The faithful have preserved this tradition to date.
In the event when the cathedral can no longer accommodate more graves, the administration of the (arch)diocese can locate another site to serve the same purpose.
For instance, two of the former bishops of Masaka were buried inside Villa Maria church (which was the first cathedral of Masaka before the relocation to Kitovu). However, when Bishop John Baptist Kaggwa died a few months ago, there was no space for him and so he was buried in a cemetery chapel in Bukalasa Minor Seminary.
Quoted by the observer newspaper, Rev Fr Edward Ssekabanja, the Masaka Diocesan Chancellor, explained that they resolved that the said chapel should be the burial place for all bishops of Masaka and other bishops from outside the diocese that wish to be buried in Masaka.