Last weekend’s ordination of new Priests in Uganda’s Catholic Diocese of Kasese was special for various reasons.
It was an unparalleled celebration in which the Ugandan Diocese saw 12 Deacons ordained Priests, the highest number the Diocese has recorded in years.
The presence of twin brothers who were among those raised to the order of Priests also made the February 6 event groundbreaking.
The twins, Fr. Peter Katuramu Isingoma and Fr. Andrew Kato Katuramu told ACI Africa that the day was the highlight of their lives and that the ordination was a fulfillment of the dreams they had harbored from childhood.
“It was a satisfying experience, which brought me so much excitement. So many people attended and they were all very happy,” said Fr. Peter in an interview with ACI Africa Wednesday, February 10.
He added, “There were so many of us being ordained Priests and many other Deacons. For many years, I had never seen such a big number of Priests ordained on the same day in our Diocese. It was a very beautiful celebration.”
On his part, Fr. Andrew told ACI Africa, “At ordination, I felt great. To many, it was a mystery that twins were being ordained Priests. I knew that God had chosen us before we were born and like Peter and his brother Andrew, the disciples of Jesus that our parents named us after, we had indeed been chosen to work with God’s people.”
The twins grew up inseparable and were difficult to tell apart. In fact, Fr. Peter jokes that the scar on his brother’s nose, which was left after he was injured during their pastoral work, now makes it easier for people to tell the two apart.
The brothers have a deep slow-paced voice that is difficult to distinguish and have always had similar interests. Today, they have an interest in soccer, the only sport they have been known to play through their formation to Priesthood.
They went their separate ways when their parents enrolled Peter at St. John the Evangelist Minor Seminary of Uganda’s Kasese Diocese while his brother proceeded to join a secular school.
“Growing up, my brother and I often talked about our dream to become Catholic Priests. We admired the lives of Priests who came to our homes, ate with us in humility and prayed for us,” Fr. Andrew recalls, and adds, “After we completed Primary seven, we made our desire known to our parents and said that we wanted to join a Seminary for our education.”
Their parents, however, did not have enough money to enroll both boys in Seminary and Andrew accepted to join a nearby Catholic School for his O-levels. The two re-united during their A- levels when Andrew joined his twin brother at the Diocesan Minor Seminary.
The two-year stay at the Minor Seminary was the only time the twins spent together in formation. They were at pains to separate again, proceeding to different Major Seminaries for their Philosophy, pastoral work and later, Theology, with “something mysterious” keeping them united.
For his studies in Philosophy, Fr. Peter went to St. Thomas Aquinas Major Seminary, Katigondo in Uganda’s Masaka Diocese, while Fr. Andrew went to Uganda Martyrs Aloculum Major Seminary in Gulu.
For their year of pastoral experience, Fr. Peter went to St. Mathias Mulumba Ibanda and Our Lady of Assumption Nsenyi Parishes in the Diocese of Kasese, while Fr. Andrew went to neighboring Immaculate Heart Parish, Hima and St John the Evangelist, Bukangara Parish.
They proceeded with their Theology at St. Mary’s National Seminary and St. Paul’s Major Seminary in Kinyamasika in the Archdiocese of Kampala.
In the interview with ACI Africa February 10, Fr. Peter recalls their parents’ shock when the two announced that they wanted to join the Priesthood.
“In the Minor Seminary, our parents thought that we were not serious about our desire to become Priests and they thought we’d drop the idea to pursue other things. They were shocked when we announced that we wanted to proceed with Philosophy,” Fr. Peter said.
He added, “Some people told our parents that we were throwing away our lives by joining Priesthood. Being the eldest sons in our family of eight children, we were expected to marry to preserve the clan’s dignity,” the young Cleric shared, adding that the family is made up of five daughters and three sons, the youngest son being 18 years old.
At one point, the twins were advised by their parents to decide who between them would drop out of formation to the Priesthood, but they were both unwavering in their desire to become Priests.
“Our parents wanted one of us to stay at home. It was an impossible decision to make so we both went to the Major Seminary,” Fr. Peter recalls, and adds in reference to their parents, “Today, they are very proud of us and happy that we decided to pursue our dream.”
Though distance separated them, the twin brothers talked every day, encouraging each other to stick to their vocation to the Priesthood. And when a significant number of those they joined the formation with quit, the twin brothers persisted to the end.
“We always reminded each other about the need to stick to the programs of the Seminary and to adhere to the rules and regulations of formation,” Fr. Andrew narrated.
“The two really love each other and they do the same things; one would imagine they think the same way. They are very hardworking, humble and prayerful and they both play soccer,” Fr. Cosmas told ACI Africa February 10.
Fr. Musungu knew the twins during their two years in Minor Seminary and also studied with them separately during their subsequent years of formation to the Priesthood.