Fr Mayanja hailed over integral development

By Mathias Mazinga

Rev. Fr Achilles Mayanja Ssali's 25-year sacerdotal ministry oozes remarkable spiritual and material accomplishments, which have made him one of the highly influential Catholic clerics, locally and internationally.

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RELIGION    PROFILE

KAMPALA - When the Catholic Missionaries of the Society of White Fathers (Missionaries of Africa) arrived here in 1879, they introduced an interesting evangelistic strategy, which enabled them to produce marvelous spiritual and material results.

Further to preaching the Good News of the heavenly kingdom of Jesus, Fr Lourdel Mapeera, Bro Delmas Amans, and their contemporaries also treated the sick, educated children and equipped the natives with life skills, which enabled them to be productive and self-reliant. They also lavished charity to the poor and disadvantaged people.

 rchbishop wanga wearing a purple skullcap with r chilles ayanja and other priests from various dioceses during the event to celebrate r ayanjas 25 years in priesthood Archbishop Lwanga (wearing a purple skull-cap) with Fr Achilles Mayanja and other priests from various dioceses during the event to celebrate Fr. Mayanja’s 25 years in priesthood.

 
Rev. Fr Achilles Mayanja Ssali, 54, the reigning parish-priest of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church, Kansanga, has a deep assimilation of the White Fathers’ pastoral approach of integral development, which interestingly, has characterized the mission of the Catholic Church, since its inception by Jesus Christ, over two thousand years ago.

His 25-year sacerdotal ministry oozes remarkable spiritual and material accomplishments, which have made him one of the highly influential Catholic clerics, locally and internationally.

 r ayanja does a sacerdotal gig with r ustachius wemalika as he makes entry to the reception of his silver jubilee fete Fr Mayanja does a sacerdotal gig with Fr Eustachius Lwemalika as he makes entry to the reception of his silver jubilee fete

 
Call to Priesthood

Mayanja started his call to the Catholic sacerdotal ministry when he was still a little boy. He attributes his vocation to the strong religious influence of his parents and the family’s proximity to the parish church.

“My parents, the late Bernadette Nalunkuuma and Charles Lwanga were committed Christians and exemplary parents. They nurtured us into a religious culture of prayer; we would pray in the morning and the evening. We would also attend with them daily mass. I later became an altar boy. Because of my closeness to the priests at Nkokonjeru, I developed the desire to become a priest. The good character and charity of Sr Bernard Mary and other Little sisters of St Francis also inspired me to join the seminary.”

Mayanja, the eighth in line of 12 children (six boys and six girls) started his priestly training at Nyenga Minor Seminary (1981-87). He later studied Philosophy at Katigondo National Major Seminary, subsequent to which he joined St Mary’s National Major Seminary, Ggaba, for his theological studies. He was subsequently ordained a priest at Lubaga Cathedral on July 16, 1994.

 r ayanja cuts a cake to commemorate his priestly silver jubilee elping him is r ustachius wemalika his contemporary and friend
Fr Mayanja cuts a cake to commemorate his priestly silver jubilee. Helping him is Fr Eustachius Lwemalika, his friend.

 


Sacerdotal Service

Mayanja was subsequently appointed as a curate of Lubaga Cathedral Parish. He worked under Msgr John Waynand Katende (whom he calls his mentor) for three years, after which he was appointed as the parish priest of Nabbingo Catholic parish (1997-2003).

In 2003, he went to the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (Nairobi), where he did his Master’s Degree in Pastoral Theology. Upon return (2005), he was made the founding parish-priest of Wakiso. A year later (2005), Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga named him as the Parish-priest of Rubaga Cathedral. He reigned as the arch-priest of Rubaga Cathedral until 2012, when he was appointed as the parish-priest of Kansanga.

r ayanja displays the dummy airticket to oland which was given to him by the ood amaritans of ampala rchdiocese Fr Mayanja displays the dummy air-ticket to Poland, which was given to him by the Good Samaritans of Kampala Archdiocese

 
Outstanding accomplishments

During the 25 years of his ministry, Fr Mayanja has exhibited himself as a hardworking minister of the Catholic Church, with the zeal to promote the integral development of Christians and the church’s self-sustenance.

His commitment to integral development is clearly projected by the many projects that he has ably accomplished during his successive appointments. At Kansanga, he built a multi-million storied building for the church’s affiliate Kindergarten, further to completing the church’s multi-purpose building, which houses the offices of the parish. He also renovated the church’s affiliate primary school (St Kizito) and constructed the parish’s spacious park-yard. He also built the church’s beautiful adoration chapel and renovated/beautified the Grotto of Mary.

 r ayanja receiving a gift from the astoral ouncil of ampala rchdiocese Fr Mayanja receiving a gift from the Pastoral Council of Kampala Archdiocese

 
At Lubaga, Mayanja made a significant contribution towards the construction of the Cathedral’s parish hall. He also purchased the Cathedral’s screens and improved the parish’s play-ground among several other things.

Mayanja also established a number of income-generating projects for the Catholic parish of Nabbingo, the most prominent of which is the commercial building, which houses several rental shops. He also bought modern pews and improved on the beauty of the Church. Mayanja also renovated and refurbished the parish’s health centre.

Mayanja also built a health centre and, a primary school at his home village at Katente-Katwe, Nkokonjeru, in Mukono district.

But probably most importantly, Mayanja, in his capacity as the Director of Divine Mercy, worked hard and secured the first-class relic of St Faustina Kowalska, which is being kept in Lubaga Cathedral.

Mayanja’s Inspiration

Fr Mayanja draws his inspiration of integral development from the ministry of Jesus, who he says, helped the people to live a fulfilled life by providing their spiritual and material needs. He attributes the success of his projects to the grace of God, and the generosity of Christians and other people of goodwill.

“I Mayanja have no money. All the money that I use to improve the quality of life of God’s people is given to me by the Christians and my friends here in Uganda and the United States. I pray that God rewards them abundantly.”

Mayanja has no regrets of having become a priest. “It is priesthood that has enabled me to do all the things I have been able to do. It has enabled me to get local and international connections and subsequently get the money that I have been using to do the good things I have done for the people. In fact, the good things I have got are so many and enormous that they make me forget about the challenges.”

A Christian’s Impression

Mayanja’s priestly ministry has impacted positively on many people. Batulumawo Lubega, a resident of Lubaga, is one of Mayanja’s admirers.

“Fr. Mayanja is one of the vibrant priests that make our church lively and visible. He is passionate about the institution of the family. His name is synonymous with Tuesday Class, the popular program that prepares young Catholics for marriage. He is also a champion of the model of Basic Christian Communities and the Good Samaritan ministry that encourages Catholic charity. Mayanja has also sponsored the education of hundreds of needy children. He has also inspired many young Catholics to join the seminary and houses of religious formation and subsequently become priests and Catholic religious. The creation of new parishes such as Kyengera, Mutundwe, and Kkonge-Lukuli is also attributable to the good work of Fr Mayanja.”

Added responsibilities

Further to being parish-priest of Kansanga, Fr Mayanja is also the Director of Catechists, the Good Samaritan department and the Council of the laity of the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Kampala. He is also the Dean of Nsambya Deanery.
 r chilles ayanja standing in front of the primary school at ansanga atholic hurch which he renovated and upgraded Fr Achilles Mayanja standing in front of the primary school at Kansanga Catholic Church, which he renovated and upgraded

 
Pope Francis honours Mayanja

The holistic sacerdotal ministry of Fr Achilles Mayanja Ssali attracted the attention of Pope Francis, who imparted his apostolic blessing on him, on the occasion of his 25th priestly anniversary at Pope Paul Memorial Hotel, Lubaga, on October 12. The pontifical blessing was handed over to Mayanja by the Metropolitan Archbishop of Kampala, Dr. Cyprian Kizito Lwanga.

Archbishop Lwanga spoke highly Mayanja describing him as a hard-working priest, who has made a big contribution to the development of the Church and the country.

Other people also appreciated Mayanja’s evangelistic approach of integral development, to which they attributed the success of his ministry.

The massive thanksgiving function attracted thousands of Christians and people of goodwill from the various parishes that Mayanja worked in or helped to create. They include Rubaga Cathedral, Nabbingo, Wakiso, Kyengera, Kkonge-Lukuli, Mutundwe and Nkokonjeru (where he hails). A number of guests from Europe and the US also graced the function.

Christians gave Fr. Mayanja numerous gifts, including an all-expenses-paid trip to the Divine Mercy Shrine in Poland, courtesy of the Good Samaritan department of Kampala Archdiocese.

 he multipurpose building at ansanga atholic parish that was completed by r ayanja The multi-purpose building at Kansanga Catholic parish that was completed by Fr Mayanja