Masaka Diocese, the birth of Catholic faith in Uganda as one may describe it has a lot of hidden treasures with beautiful undocumented history
Besides the famous Villa Maria Proto-Cathedral where the beginning of Catholicism is linked to the story of a French missionary priest, Fr. Henry Streicher, who arrived there on March 19, 1891, and formally set up the parish in 1892, there are other parishes with a strong foundation of the catholic Mission
In a brief, A local chief (the Pokino of Buddu) Alex Ssebbowa, had donated about 3,500 acres of land to the Catholic Church, which included the villages of Bwanda, Lubale, Bukalasa and Katigondo. Streicher decided to turn the land into a strong foundation for the Catholic faith in the country. He chose one of the villages, Lubale, where he built the mammoth church building and dedicated the entire village to the Blessed Virgin, Mary, after changing its name from Lubale to Villa Maria, which means “Mary’s Village”.
The Catholic Evangelisation later extended to Bikiira in 1892, Kasozi 1894, Bumangi 1889, Narozali 1900, Nazareth 1902 and Kitovu hills in 1909 where missionaries established other historical parishes. This was followed by the establishment of other parishes in Masaka Diocese which currently totals to 64.
By 1896, White missionaries had already established a permanent church structure at Narozali and it was elevated to Parish in 1990
Our Lady of Rosary Narozali Parish which is currently under the stewardship of rev. Fr. John Mary Vianne Tamale, is located 7 miles from Masaka City Center in Masaka District. The Parish stood a test of time because of the highly good workmanship during the construction of the Church
Twelve years ago, the Parish embarked on a task of renovating the traditional church which had existed for over 100years into a modern chapel that befits the century and to attract tourists at the historical hill formerly occupied by ghosts and evil powers, according to residents
As the church nears completion, Narozali parish has now geared up to commemorate her Quasquicentennial Anniversary of existence (125 years) which will be marked in 2025.
The 2 year preparation campaign was launched on Sunday, October 15, 2023, during the commemoration of 123years of existence
The celebration Mass was led by Msgr. Joseph Mary Kasule who cautioned Christians to revive their faith in God other than visiting witch doctors.
Msgr. Kasule said Narozali parish the heart of Catholicism is Masaka is dominated by witchdoctors where Christians and believers equally go to seek for miracles instead of praying to God.
Rev. Fr. John Mary Vianne Tamale, the Parish Priest said by the time of the Quasquicentennial Anniversary, they will have accomplished the renovation works at the church which has a seating capacity of over 2,000 Christians
Mr. Peter Ssenkungu, the chairperson of the Quasquicentennial Anniversary celebrations said, they have so far planted 6,000 indigenous trees across the sub parishes and the parish schools to save the environment and they target to plant 30,000 trees before the pick of the 125 years celebration
“We still need financial support to complete the renovation works of the church and at the same time we are gearing up for the mega celebration in 2025. We also established a parish SACCO code named Narozali 125 SACCO as the Anniversary project,” Mr. Ssenkungu said
Hon. Juliet Kakande, the Masaka City Woman Legislator who also graced the occasion asked Christians in Narozali Parish to utilize the little land they have to plant indigenous coffee to support their families and the reconstruction of the historical Parish which is yet mark 125 years of existence
Our Lady of Rosary Narozali Parish, is termed as a valuable historical Parish in Masaka because of its beautiful story of establishment told by the Priests at the Parish and the residents once you take time to visit. It’s one of the key tourism features in Masaka one may not miss to visit.
The Parish also has a number of staunch Christian families that have produced a number of priests and sisters. A good example is the Mayanja Family which has three Reverend Fathers and three sisters
The seat of Narozali Parish is surrounded by thick natural and artificial forests filtering the fresh breathing Air at the hill and beautiful scenery of Lake Victoria and Lake Nabugabo viewed in a distance.
See more 123 Anniversary pictorial
By Maurice Peter Matovu and Nsubuga Robert
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