Lwanga hails Fr Kato as a humble, prayerful and hardworking priest.
PIC: Fr. Kato was laid to rest at Namugongo. (Credit: Juliet Lukwago)
KAMPALA - Thousands of mourners were at the Uganda Martyrs Shrine Namugongo on Tuesday to bid farewell to Rev. Fr. Augustine Kato Sseruwagi, who was knocked dead by a speeding hit-and-run car in Lweza, on the Kampala-Entebbe road.
The 81-year-old had served the Church for 34 years.
Dr Cyprian Kizito Lwanga, the head of Kampala archdiocese, led three hours of prayers and tributes before Fr. Kato’s body was buried at the parish cemetery.
Kampala archdiocese’s norm is that each priest is buried where he was serving at the time of his passing.
Lwanga hailed Fr Kato as a humble, prayerful and hardworking priest, who cared for fellow elderly people and often visited them.
But he was particularly critical of careless drivers.
"We thank the Police officers for the work they are doing, but we ask you to look for him (runaway driver) and charge him. I call upon all motorists to be extra careful and try to drive with all caution, remembering that our lives are very important," urged Lwanga.
Fr. Kato was killed by a speeding car
One eyewitness said Fr. Kato was crossing at a zebra crossing when he was hit by the vehicle heading towards Entebbe. The reverand was on his way from St Joseph Catholic Parish Lweza.
Lwanga said his passing leaves a huge gap in the Church. He urged priests to emulate Fr. Kato's dedication to the church.
The Archbiship also delivery condolences to the family and friends of Fr. Kato.
The Chancellor of the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Kampala, Fr. Dr. Joseph Mary Ssebunnya described the fallen priest as a talented advisor and teacher to all Christians, which led them to nickname him Omulungi w’Omukama [God's good one].
Luweero Catholic Bishop, Paul Ssemwogerere, said Kato was a dedicated priest and an idol to them all. "He was always a happy man who never got angry with anyone".
Fr. Kato's former classmates bishops Paul Ssemwogerere and Christopher Kakooza of Lugazi diocese place a wreath on his casket at Namugongo. (Credit: Juliet Lukwago)
Fr. Kato was born on August 31, 1937 in Mubende parish, now under Kiyinda-Mityana diocese. His parents were Ssalongo Musa Kitakule and Nnalongo Magdalene Nambogo, who were both teachers in Mubende.
Kato and his twin brother Wasswa were the first born in their family of eleven children.
Before he joined St Mbaaga Major Seminary Ggaba in 1977, Kato worked in Marianum Press as typesetter for a few years with Munno and Uganda Augus newspapers. He was ordained priest on December 16, 1984.
Kato served in different parishes, including Christ the King, Kayunga, Nsambya, Kkonge, Naddangira, Namayumba, Buyege, Old-Kampala and Namugongo. At the time of his death, he was on a sabbatical.