In 1968, Catholic priests of the congregation of the Blessed Sacrament sought to establish a parish in the diocese of Masaka.
Bishop Adrian Kivumbi Ddungu (RIP), who was the reigning prelate of the diocese then, asked them to take a survey of Bisanje, which is currently located in Bukoto Central (Masaka district).
The Blessed Sacrament Fathers were nonetheless not impressed with the site of the proposed parish, which they saw as remote. Subsequently, they opted for Kimaanya, in the vicinity of Masaka town.
Interestingly, the idea of starting a parish at Bisanje remained lavish in the mind of Bishop Ddungu, who eventually appointed a diocesan priest, Fr Boniface Mubru, to establish it. Fr Mubiru started the parish, after receiving a donation of land from some Christians of good will.
Bishop John Baptist Kaggwa, Vice-President Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi and other VIPS cutting a cake with the couples that were wed during the thanksgiving mass for the 50th anniversary of Bisanje Catholic parish on Sunday. (Photo by Mathias Mazinga)
The humble and somehow incredible inception of nativity of Our Lady Catholic parish, Bisanje is probably the principle reason why Christians of all walks of life turned out in huge numbers for the parish’s golden jubilee celebrations, which took place at the parish in Masaka district on Sunday.
The function was presided over by the Bishop of Masaka Catholic diocese, Dr John Baptist Kaggwa, who paid tribute to the parish’s founding cleric, Fr Boniface Mubiru, his successors and some outstanding lay Christians, who he said laid a firm foundation for the parish.
Kaggwa later asked the parishioners to work together to realise the diocesan objective of deep Christian devotion and self-sustenance. “The achievements of Bisanje are visible.
During the past five decades, the parish has produced 25 priests and 24 religious men and women.
Catholic ecclesial movements like Legion of Mary, Net Ministry and Kolping Society are also active. The parish also has a well-functioning nursery school, a primary school and a dispensary,” Kaggwa said.
The parish-priest, Fr Dennis Ssekalegga also implored Christians to do more to support the holistic development projects of the parish. He gave the example of the parish’s commercial building, which he said still needed sh80m to be completed.
The special guest, Ken Richard Ssebamala, who hails from the parish, asked the youth to shun vices like gambling and rumour-mongering and instead embrace a culture of hard work.
Ssebamala donated sh10m towards the parish’s development projects. He also pledged to mobilise another sh50m from his friends. He further promised to tarmac the road that connects the church to the highway.
Vice-President Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi, who is also the area MP, thanked the Catholic Church for helping government to fight poverty in households and communities.
He later asked the Catholic religious leaders to work in partnership with government as it strives to emancipate the people from the bondages of poverty, alcoholism and drug addiction.
He also asked the Christians to work hard and ensure food security in their homes and the area. Ssekandi donated sh2m to the parish. The function was also graced by the Masaka Woman MP, Babirye Kabanda, who donates sh1m.
During the function, Bishop Kagwa also wed five couples and installed the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the newly built Marian Chapel.