Bishop Edward K. Braxton recently welcomed Father Vincent Mukasa, a fidei donum missionary from the Archdiocese of Kampala, Uganda to the Diocese. He has been released by his Bishop, His Excellency, The Most Rev. Cyprian Kizito Lwanga, Archbishop of Kampala, to serve for a period of three years. Commenting on the appointment, the Bishop said, “I am very appreciative of Father Mukasa’s generosity in coming to serve the People of God in our Diocese. I am confident that he will be well received by the clergy, religious, and the Christian faithful. I am deeply grateful to Archbishop Lwanga for making this possible.” Father is already acquainted with the Catholic Church in southern Illinois, since he has been coming to the Diocese during the summer to provide pastoral ministry, on and off, since 1998. Father Mukasa will be joining two other fidei donum priests from Uganda currently serving here: Father Christopher Mujule from the Diocese of Hoima and Father Bernardine Nganzi from the Diocese of Fort Portal.
The Rev. Vincent Mukasa was born on Nov. 27, 1967 at Kisubi in Uganda, East Africa, the first child of Mr. and Mrs. John Sekaye’s four children. He was born into a Catholic family and baptized as an infant. Since his father was an educator, it was important to him for his children to receive a good education in Catholic schools.
The future priest became an altar server in third grade. His parish church was just a ten-minute walk from his home. The experience of serving Mass regularly gave him an early love for the Eucharist and an admiration for the ministry of the priest who celebrated Mass in his parish. This experience was the beginning of his discernment of a possible vocation to the Priesthood. His Parish Pastor, Father John Mary Kamya, was a member of the Society of African Missions, also known as “White Fathers.” Every day after prayerfully serving Mass and receiving the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist, all of the servers were given a hearty breakfast at the Rectory before going to school, which was next to the Rectory. Father Mukasa said that the experience of serving Mass and developing a good relationship with the Parish Priest are very natural opportunities for a young man to begin to think about becoming a priest.
He graduated from St. Joseph High School Seminary in Nyenga, Uganda, in 1987. In 1990, he graduated from St. Thomas Aquinas Major Seminary in Masaka, Uganda, earning a Bachelor’s
degree in Philosophy from the Pontifical Urban University in Rome. In June 1991, he completed a pastoral spiritual year (internship) at St. Joseph High School Seminary. In May 1994, he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Theology from the Pontifical Urban University in Rome and St. Mary’s National Seminary, Ggaba, Uganda. His Eminence, Emmanuel Cardinal Wamala, Archbishop of Kampala, ordained Father Mukasa a Priest on July 16, 1994.
His first pastoral appointment was as Associate Pastor at the Uganda Martyrs’ Basilica in Namugongo, which commemorates the martyrdom of Catholic and Protestant Christians who died for professing their faith. After less than a year in the parish, he was assigned to the faculty of Kisubi High School Seminary. He was later sent to the University College in Dublin, Ireland, where he earned a Master’s degree in Education in 2000. Father Mukasa continued as a faculty member at Kisubi High School Seminary until January 2003, when he was appointed Rector of the Seminary. He remained Rector until December 2014.
For recreation, Father Mukasa enjoys playing and watching sports, especially volleyball, soccer, and basketball. He also enjoys jogging, traveling, and reading, especially about the life and teachings of the Catholic Church and current events unfolding in Uganda and around the world. He also enjoys watching American movies and listening to African traditional music and Western traditional and church music.
Bishop Braxton has appointed him to serve as Associate Pastor at the Cathedral of St. Peter. Monsignor Myler, the Cathedral Rector, and the parishioners and parish staff have warmly welcomed him and he is already learning about the activities of the parish and getting to know the Belleville community.
The Bishop invites everyone in the Diocese to pray for the fruitfulness of Father Mukasa’s ministry and to look for opportunities to greet him and make him feel at home.