HISTORY ABOUT KYAWANGABI CHAPEL LOCATED IN VILLA MARIA KALUNGU DISTRICT BUDDU COUNTY.

Kyawangabi chapel located at Kyawangabi hill standing about a mile from Villa Maria Parish was started in 1892 by Arch Bishop Streicher and some catholic chiefs led by Lui Kibanyi and its actual operation is believed to have begun in July 1892.The earlier miracles, and successes registered by the Buddu Catholic missionaries (like protection against the Protestants, the return of Father  Simeon Lourdel from exile, the flourishing of the Catholic Church the acceptance of the young converts to die for Christ etc) were shouldered on Mother Mary.Therefore, to appreciate and stress the value and importance of Mother Mary, Streicher and the converted chiefs felt the need to have a special place dedicated to Mother Mary where Catholics could go to thank mother Mary for all the favours obtained from her and to ask her for protection from plagues and successes in the future.

To stress the importance of mother Mary to the converts, the Missionaries and the converted chiefs based on the Ganda culture that highly valued and held in high esteem the queen mother (Kabaka’s mother) compared the two to make it easy for the converts to fully understand weight of Mother Mary. The baganda’s devotion, respect and love for the queen mother were  used to explain the Marian devotion, They called mother Mary all the titles and names of the queen mother which included Namasole, Naluggi,  Nabijjano etc.  In the Ganda gave culture, the king mother was a king in her own right, ruling a kingdom within a kingdom. Namasole’s palace was located on a hill opposite that of the kabaka. She was the most effective door for those who sought special royal favours. She was the ardent upholder of the purity of the nation’s traditions. All these features were attributes of mother Mary.Therefore, Kyawangabi was set up as a geographical and ceremonial hill/chapel comparable to Namasole’s palace in Kampala the Ganda capital. On this hill, catholics of all categories i. e. postulants, catechumens and neophytes could go to thank Mother Mary for the gifts obtained for having prayed through her. Others went to petition mother Mary over the problems and challenges they were facing in life.From July 1892, every Saturday, mass was said at the chapel and every Sunday after mass at the mission Catholics thronged the hill to pay homage to the heavenly Namasole (Mother Mary)

On Marian feasts of solemnity, after mass at the mission, processions climbed the hill to Kyawangabi in groups of children, young girls, women young men, the priest and men at the back singing hymes or reciting the rosary. At the top of the hill, Benediction was cerebrated. Such Marian feasts were usually done on 2nd Feb, 25th march, 1st Sunday of May and October 15th August, 8th September and 8th December.The name Kyawangabi traces its origin from the many bushbucks (Engabi in Luganda) that inhabited the top hill where the shrine stands.Special about Kyawangabi shrine is the fact that of all missions in Buddu founded by the white fathers, it’s the oldest chapel dedicated to Blessed Virgin Mary.As per my brief research, Kyawangabi seems to hold fascinating history that all Catholics need not to miss out. It’s important that more research be carried out and documented to make plans for the revival of this great chapel and hill so that believers can have it as a special place in Uganda where mother Mary can be met, thanked and petitioned by the troubled.

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