St. Mbaaga’s seminary is a diocesan major seminary belonging to Kampala Archdiocese. The Archbishop of Kampala, His Grace Dr. Cyprian Kizito Lwanga is the supreme head of this seminary and he is the one responsible for its staffing and general welfare and in drawing the regulations that govern it.
"Participating in the Mission of God who promised His people: I will give you shepherds after my own heart. (Jer.3:15)
St. Mbaaga’s seminary is a diocesan major seminary belonging to Kampala Archdiocese. The Archbishop of Kampala, His Grace Dr. Cyprian Kizito Lwanga is the supreme head of this seminary and he is the one responsible for its staffing and general welfare and in drawing the regulations that govern it. Although St. Mbaaga’s is a diocesan major seminary, but aims with all means the better provision for the “solid training of the students” (OT. 7) “to make them true shepherds of souls after the example of Our Lord Jesus Christ, teacher, priest and shepherd” (OT. 4). St. Mbaaga’s is the only diocesan major seminary in the whole of the AMECEA region.
The history of St. Mbaaga’s Major Seminary goes as far back as 1931. It was in that year that the Mill Hill missionaries opened a major seminary on these premises for what was then Kampala diocese which was under their care. During its thirty six years of existence it produced abundant fruits for the church in this country. Many priests trained here during that period are still with us. Among them are seven Bishops:
- His Eminence Maurice Cardinal Otunga (R.I.P) former Archbishop of Nairobi.
- His Grace Archbishop James Odongo, Archbishop of Tororo
- His Lordship Bishop Joseph Mukwaya, Emeritus Bishop of Kiyinda Mityana
- His Lordship Bishop Erasmus Wandera, Bishop of Soroti
- His Lordship Bishop Joseph Oyanga, Emeritus Bishop of Lira
- His Lordship Bishop Denis Kiwanuka, Bishop of Kotido
- His Lordship Bishop Phillip Sulumeti, Bishop of Kakamega, Kenya.
When the Uganda Episcopal Conference decided to establish the system of National Seminaries, the Mill Hill seminary ceased to exist in 1967. The premises then hosted the Pastoral Institute of Eastern Africa which was here from 1967 – 1975. The 1970’s were difficult years. It was the time when Ex President Idi Amin Dada was in power and hardly anything in Uganda seemed to be going on well. The Pastoral Institute of Eastern Africa had just abandoned the premises and moved to Eldoret, Kenya, precisely because of the difficult situation which prevailed in Uganda at that time. And sure enough, it was just at that very time that Cardinal Nsubuga of happy memory decided against all odds, to open a major seminary for a second time. The purpose was to cater for the late vocations to the priesthood in the Archdiocese of Kampala. The new seminary was officially opened on February 16th 1976 and was put under the patronage of St. Mbaaga, one of the 22 Uganda martyrs canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1964.
First Rector and Students
When the seminary was opened, it was entrusted to Rev. Fr. John Baptist Kaggwa, currently Rt. Rev. Bishop John Baptist Kaggwa, the Bishop of Masaka Diocese, and Rev. Fr. Ssempijja as a professor and had twelve students. On May 10th, 1976 their number was increased by four others who willingly joined St. Mbaaga seminary from Bukalasa, Kisubi, and Nyenga Seminaries. Nine of this first group of 16 seminarians was ordained priests on June 3rd, 1983 at the seminary premises.
Although the seminary legally belongs to Kampala Archdiocese, it actually trains students from other neighboring dioceses such Kiyinda-Mityana, Kasana-Luweero, Masaka, Lugazi, Jinja, Fortportal, Hoima and Lira Dioceses. There are 144 students including 21 students on Pastoral Work