Emeritus Bishop of Lira, Joseph Oyanga went to be with the Lord in the wee hours of Sunday July 22 at St. Anthony hospital in Tororo (FILE PHOTO)


Lira, 26th July 2018

 Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Three years ago, in this same Ordinations ground, we gath­ered to celebrate the 50th anniversary of priesthood of our dear Bishop Emeritus, Joseph Oyanga. Today we gather once again to bid him farewell as we celebrate his burial. On that joyful occasion, thanking God for his Golden Jubilee as a priest, we asked the Lord to keep blessing Bishop Oyanga, and we asked Bishop Emeritus to keep helping Lira Diocese with his prayer.

Today, as we mourn his death, we entrust him to God’s mercy, praying that the Lord may give him the eter­nal rest and reward for a life completely spent at the service of his people.

The death of Bishop Joseph has taken us by surprise. After falling sick in June last year, he was admitted in Aber Hos­pital where he was properly taken care of and he regained strength. In fact, he felt so good and well that in June this year he decided to go back to Tororo. Unfortunately his health started once again declining, leading to is unexpected death.


This event happens while Lira diocese, led for fourteen years by Bishop Oyanga in the difficult times marked by the LRA re­bellion, is celebrating fifty years of its existence, its Golden Ju­bilee. Looking at the events of our life with the eyes of faith, we know that nothing happens by chance or by mistake I invite you to look at the sad event of the death of our Bishop Emeri­tus not as something, which comes to spoil the celebration of our Golden Jubilee but rather as a special calling by God and the last gift of our beloved Bishop Joseph.

The departure of Bishop Emeritus becomes indeed a power­ful call to each one of us, members of the big family of God in Lango, to renew our own commitment to follow Christ more closeiy through a deeper faith and a stronger common effort to spread the joy of the gospel to all our brothers and sisters. Bishop Oyanga has successfully done his part and ended his journey. It is now for us to make sure that we continue the good work started by the first shepherds, Bishop Caesar Asili and Bishop Joseph Oyanga, whom God has given to our dio­ceses over the past 50 years.

For fourteen years Bishop Joseph went throughout the diocese sharing God’s grace through the sacraments and preaching the good news to thousands of people. His last public mes­sage to the people of Lira Diocese is the one he gave when a numerous delegation of priests, eiders, civic and cultural leaders together with representatives of the laity of the diocese went to meet him in November last year in Aber Hospital. Peo­ple wanted to show Bishop Emeritus their love and affection, while asking also for forgiveness for any sorrows and problems caused to him during his service as shepherd of Lira Diocese. Bishop Joseph was overjoyed and grateful for the meeting. Thanking all of us who were present, he addressed a message also to all the people in Lira Diocese. ‘ Make every effort to be united, so that the Church may develop and grow stronger!”

I consider this a very important message, a kind of last will given to the people he loved and served in Lira. Today, as we say farewell to our dear Bishop Emeritus, I would like to repeat and launch his appeal here, for all of us to take it at heart and take home, to our families, small Christian communities, our chapels and parishes. It is the last word, the parting gift of a bishop and father who has now physically left us

Thank you, dear Bishop Joseph. We now pray for the Good Lord to welcome and reward you in his eternal embrace of joy and love. As we now go on with the celebration of our Golden Jubilee, please continue to be with us with your prayer and intercession, so that we may indeed follow and put into prac­tice what you have been teaching us. All together - you from heaven and each one of us still on our journey back home - let us pray our common and loving Father: “Make of Lira Diocese a real family united in love!”



+ Joseph Franzelli
Bishop of Lira Diocese









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