Uganda: Wedding Flops Over Missing Baptism Cards

2013_4$largeimg229_Apr_2013_115047120By Samuel Balagadde and Norman Katende

An elderly couple is still in shock while relatives and friends are frustrated, after the wedding that they planned for months flopped following the parish priest’s refusal to preside over the function.

Emmanuel Ssenkumba (87) and Seforoza Namugenyi (70) had planned to wed on April 27, registered with the church and marriage bans were also announced as the prerequisite for the Catholic Church marriage.

They have been living together for over 50 years and wanted to make their marriage holy at a function in their home in Mulambalo village, Namungo Sub County in Mityana District.

However, Kyengeza Parish priest Father Lazaro Kiggundu turned them down. Through Pafula Byekwaso, the Kiteete sub-parish catechist, Kiggundu announced that he could not go on with the wedding as the couple did not have proof that they had been baptized in church.

“We cannot commit the couple into matrimonial marriage when there is no proof of baptism.  We are sorry but when you are ready, the Father will come any time of your convenience to perform the function,” Byekwaso broke the bad news to a couple and a huge crowd that had turned up for the fete.

Kiggundu said that by the time the couple registered, he was going for training but gave orders that they need to prove that they were baptized if the wedding had to go on.

He however could not explain why the marriage bans were announcement   before the baptism cards were produced, one of the prerequisite for initiating wedding plans in church.

Catholic church laws require that before the bans are announced, the in charge must have confirmed that the couple have been baptized and are not married, since any marriage is recorded on the same card.

This card comes with the letter of introduction from the catechist or parish priest from where the couple is coming from as they know more about the couples, but it was not confirmed whether the letter had also been received.

“In such circumstance, the church would have organized baptism for the couple before the wedding day. All the laws that govern the church are the same but Kiyinda-Mityana is a different diocese. I will have to speak to those in church of the diocese and see how they can help the couple,” said  Msgnr Fr. Wynad Katende, the public relations officer of the Kampala Archdiocese, when asked what advise he would be giving the couple.

He said that the couple also needed counseling.

The frustrated couple managed to serve the guests with the already prepared food and drinks. Later the master of ceremonies at the function fundraised for the couple to get back what they spent but only received Sh7000.

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