Masaka Diocese raise alarm over church break-ins, theft of instruments

Masaka Diocese raise alarm over church break-ins, theft of instruments

Masaka, Uganda | By Michael Wandati | The Masaka Diocese is grappling with a surge in church break-ins, causing distress among parishioners and clergy alike.

In a series of incidents, unidentified assailants have repeatedly raided churches across various parishes, raising concerns within the community.

The most recent robbery occurred at Misojjo sub parish Church in Katimba Parish, Sembabule district.

Thugs infiltrated the church on Tuesday night, making off with valuable items including a new public address system, generator, sound system, and choir uniforms.

Similar incidents occurred last year at St Joseph Lwaggulwe Parish in Masaka district, Our Lady of St Carmel Bethlehem Parish, and St Mary Muzeeyi Mpambire Parish in Kyotera district. St Jude Parish Church Lukaya in Kalungu district and Our Lady of Peace Parish Kasozi in Rakai district, revered as one of the oldest churches in Masaka diocese and Uganda, also fell victim to such break-ins.

The modus operandi remains consistent, with intruders gaining entry into the churches and targeting the sacristy, the holiest space, to pilfer money from alms boxes.

Edward Kimbugwe, a Catechist at Misojjo sub parish, laments the impact of these incidents on both congregants and clergy, expressing bewilderment at the motives behind targeting places of worship. He highlights the loss of significant items crucial for church prayers and worship, exacerbating efforts to develop and maintain the churches.

Also Read: Kenyan Pastor mysteriously dies in Uganda while praying in church

Reverend Father Joseph Ssemwanga, the Katimba Parish Priest, condemns the violations of church sanctity and notes the demoralization among congregants who contribute to fundraising for stolen items.

Despite efforts to enhance church security, including reinforcing doors and windows, intruders persist, leading to suspicions that they may have insider knowledge acquired from attending church services.

Gertrude Nalukenge, a parishioner in Katimba Parish, acknowledges the challenges in apprehending culprits, hindering deterrence efforts. While the diocese recommends measures like installing surveillance cameras and constructing perimeter fences, financial constraints impede implementation in many parishes.

The rash of church break-ins in Masaka diocese, with similar incidents reported earlier in 2022, underscores the urgent need for concerted action to safeguard sacred spaces and preserve the integrity of religious communities.