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Parish History

As early as 1900, Christ the king parish existed as a small community of Catholics in Kampala that had come all the way from Goa, Mangalore and South India. A Christian community of staunch Catholics who were never hesitating to be known for their Catholic faith. They were eager to take with them Christ, wherever they settled. The majority of them had come to work on the Uganda Railways Construction which had by now reached near Kisumu in Kenya.

In this little town where they had settled, one could see the Goan community going to Nsambya and Lubaga to attend Mass every Sunday. It was such a hard time as they had to make the trip of narrow paths and bushy alleys on foot. Only a few of them owned faster means of transport like cars It was however , realized by the Goan community and Bishop John Biermans of Nsambya that the way to the church was long and tiresome, soon this realization turned into talks and talks turned into plans.

A plan was made but did not quickly materialize. It took some consultations with the Bishop of Comana, Vicar Apostolic of the Upper Nile, the Most Rev. John William campling for a final agreement to the effect that one Father from Nsambya looks after the spiritual welfare of the Goan Community. Then, a plot of land, now known as “Plot 24, Buganda Road” was acquired. It was, however found unsuitable for two reasons. Firstly, the community was growing and a small chapel would quickly become too small and there could also be too much congestion on the road with no room for parking.

As a result of this the leaders of the community and Bishop of the Vicariate went to look around for another Plot. They found a plot on the other side of the town, then known as Plot No. 14, Blcok Aa, now known as Plot 3 Colville Street, the present location of the Parish. After an agreement with the owner of this plot, Mahomedali Allibhai Ramji the previous plot was exchanged for the one where the Church stands today.

Bishop Campling, on October 27, 1929 appointed Father H. Janssen to build a Church in Kampala . Father Janssen had already worked among the Goan community for several years between 1921 and 1926. He started the work literally from the grass roots. The tall elephant grass had to be cut and hills had to be cleared and bricks had to be made. He sought the advice of a Dutch architect, M. Nelissen, who drew the plan for the Church to be built. With the plan secured, a contractor was soon to be found to carry out the work. The choice fell on Budh Singh, an Indian contractor who agreed to do the work to completion at a cost of 7500/= a huge amount of money at that time.

Fr. Janssen, set out on the work. He began by having the bricks baked at Luzira (a part of Nsambya Mission). But he ran out of funds and returned home to seek assistance.

Dedication of the Church

The foundation stone for the new Church was laid and blessed by Bishop Campling on the Feast of Christ the King, October 27, 1929. During the work, Fr. Janssen was ably and devotedly assisted by P. J Currivan. Together, they spent endless hours on the spot, supervising and directing the work and were not afraid to stick out a hand themselves.

The work progressed steadily and the Church was opened and blessed on October 26, 1930. The first solemn Pontifical High Mass was celebrated in the new Church. The celebrant was his Lordship Bishop Campling assisted by Fr. V.G Minderop and Fr. W. Fink, the superior of Nsambya Mission. This was a great day in the history of the Mill Hill Fathers at Nsambya, a great day for the Goan Community and for all those that helped to build this church. As a fitting ending to such a great day, a dinner was organized at the Grand Imperial Hotel.

However, Christ the King Parish did not become truly independent of its parent Nsambya Mission until the presbytery was completed in 1953. After the building of the church, Fr.Janseen continued to be parish priest of the new Parish. Among the priests that served the Christian community in Kampala, he was of extremely great kindness. Fr. Janseen was often seen working in the Church with his own hand. Physically, he had a beautiful, black beard and must have been called, both in his home country and here in Uganda a typical Missionary. He spent much of his time, visiting parishioners, and knew them all. In March, 1934, Fr. Janssen was appointed parish priest at Nyenga. In later years, he returned to his home country, Holland, where at Meaastricht, he died in 1948.

When Fr. Janssen left for Nyenga, Fr. Joseph P. Martin an Irish, succeeded him. Fr. Martin had helped Fr. Janssen on many occasions like baptisms and marriages since 1932. Before he came to Christ the king parish, he was in charge of St. Peter’s Junior S.S at Nsambya. He was also in charge of the Catholic patients in the European Hospital on top of Nakasero Hill. Residing at Nsambya, he would often come to the parishioners after spending hours at school. Being a sports lover, he was interested in athletics, and football, and so there was never a dull moment in his life. After ten years of dedicated service, Fr. Martin returned to Ireland, his native Country.

Music and the musicians

The people who worked hard to make the liturgy both beautiful and inspiring through good music must be praised for their devotions and love. At first, the Parish could not afford to buy an organ, as the cost of a new organ had exceeded the original estimates. The first man to organize a choir was Gorgon S. Lobo, assisted by some others and accompanied by two violins played to the best of their ability by Aniato and Leandro Rotrigues at every third Mass on Sunday. Later other members joined the choir. These included a musical family, the Pinto family which donated an organ, the J.A.D’Sa. Remy da Silva and Mrs. Irene Lobo.

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