They entered the cathedral to the soothing keyboard tunes of, Let’s Praise Our God hymn. Her cream gown wasn’t one with a long trail but a fitting one that flowed to her feet teamed up with a birdcage veil and white-flowered bouquet.
She smiled as she walked beside her husband who was wearing a grey suit, purple shirt with a white tab collar and a crucifix around his neck. Cathedral pews in the centre had their edges were covered with white linen and flowers, formed the aisle through which the couple marched. The floor too was covered with white linen.
The Rt. Rev. Wilberforce Kityo Luwalira and wife Faith Luwalira on Tuesday September 2, marched into St Paul’s Cathedral, Namirembe to celebrate their silver jubilee. Luwalira, who is the bishop of Namirembe Diocese was walking to his seat.
Faith’s smile, as she waved to cheering witnesses who included several clergymen and women, Buganda Kingdom officials and the Christian faithful, was infectious. Like a newlywed bride, her white teeth easily blended with the bright white flower pinned in her left side of the hair. Her husband, one hand touching the crucifix that smartly rested on the purple shirt chest, responded to the cheers with a papal-like wave.
Ahead of the couple were four children two boys and two girls. The boys wore fitting blazers of same print material and black bowties with black trousers while the girls with minimal makeup on their faces, donned long flowing stylish African print dresses and pearl necklaces carefully adorned their necks.
Except for their beaming faces and every step they took towards the altar, one could not tell what ran through their minds. Perhaps, it was memories of walking on the same aisle as they did 25 years ago.
No speeches were made during the one- and- half hour service but beautiful hymns of worship and thanksgiving. The couple that later hosted their guests to a reception at their home was to reveal the reason for their marriage success.
Faith sang a song whose one line etched on my mind “Praise the name of the Lord, Praise the name of the Lord for his name is worthy of praise”
Luwalira later said, “When you know that he who is leading you knows where he is taking you, then you rest and follow. Jesus has led us through this 25 years’ journey and we are thankful.”
However, not much concerning the couple’s love story was said at this silver jubilee reception. But in an exclusive interview with this magazine, the couple, their two sons and two daughters, shared their awesome story. This was at the home of Buganda Kingdom Lukiiko (parliament) Speaker, Nelson Kawalya.
The love journey begins
This journey started on September 2, 1989 in front of Bishop Misaeri Kawuma, then Bishop of Namirembe Diocese. Luwalira and Faith said, “I do.” While this was the public declaration of their love, much had taken place behind the scenes before the occasion.
It was a council of elders comprising church leaders and a few relatives who found a wife for the then 30-year-old Luwalira. He was an ordained priest serving as a Youth Secretary in the Bishop’s office at Namirembe Diocese.
Faith Nakitende, 26, was a teacher at Gayaza Junior School. The elders arranged a meeting for the two “to see whether the relationship would take off”.
Bishop Luwalira calls their maiden meeting a “wonderful occasion”. It took place in the residence of one of Gayaza Junior School staff members.
“The first time I saw her, I knew God had prepared her for this relationship,” he recounts as he smiles.
But as a young man who had never engaged in a relationship before, one whose faith dictated that he did not until he was properly guided by the church, Luwalira banked on his faith in God.
“I knew God would guide and lead me in what I was supposed to say and do. I was a born again Christian. So, through prayer I asked God who assured me that it was my time to get married.”
When the meeting was arranged, Faith Nakitende did not know who it was that she was going to meet. So did she fear?
“No. I did not. I had been praying for six years, trusting God who knows the hearts of men to give me a suitable partner.” Well, the two, guided by the elders, easily got along and preparations for the wedding got underway. Their wedding, a year later, and the silver jubilee this year on is a confirmation that indeed God predestined Luwalira and Nakitende to be husband and wife.
The wedding day
As a young church minister, Luwalira then lived in small house at Namirembe Cathedral which currently serves as the gateman’s office. He also earned a small salary, so, he did not have much money to finance his wedding.
He recalls the events of their wedding day. “We wedded on September 2, 1989 at 11am at Namirembe Cathedral. Our dear friend, the late Samuel Mpalanyi hassled looking for cars to transport the bridal entourage. He finally got a Benz from Sebaana Kizito in which we drove. Today, we thank God that we have also been driven in a Benz.”
“Unlike today where wedding receptions end late in the night where you cannot even easily identify the person next to you, ours ended at 2pm and by 4pm we were already in Mityana at the home of Bishop Wilson Mutebi for our honeymoon. Ha that Bishop made sure we were comfortable,” the bishop jovially added.
Children’s say on their parents
Parents always have something they learn from their parents. Bishop Luwalira’s children share what they have learnt from their parents.
Esther Grace Nabbembe, 24, the first born and graduate of Fine Art, who also teaches at Vine International Christian Academy, says, “I have learnt from mummy to have faith in all situations. There were moments for example we needed money for school fees and would see there was no way to get the money but I would never see her worried. Her faith did not waver. She has also taught me to be hard working and be the best I can be.”
Daniel Samuel Alan Ssekakabo Mwesigwa, 22, Second born, a third year student of Land surveying at Kyambogo University, says,“Our parents have showed us a good example of a Christian family. They encourage and pray for us. Dad is a man of integrity and an inspiration to go higher in education. He has supported and encouraged us through school.”
James Musasizi, 18, the third born, in Senior Six at Mengo Senior School
“We are privileged and thank God for our parents. Dad is exemplary. He is a timekeeper and keeps his word. He has taken care of us including taking us to good schools.”
Faith Nantume,13, also known as Maama wa taata because she was named after her paternal grandmother is in Senior Two at Mengo Secondary School. She says, “I’m lucky because people wish that their fathers were bishops, mine is one and the best father I know. Mummy too is the best. She is kind and loves giving guidance. She always talks to me so that I do not go wrong.”
Tips for successful marriage
“Since I had prayed to God to give me a husband, I treasure him knowing that he is a gift from God. So even when he makes a mistake, I know that no one is perfect. I just look at what God gave me and love him.
He is a good man who loves God,” Faith Luwalira says.
“The bishop who officiated at our wedding mentioned one thing which struck my mind that any husband who grows from one level to another and leaves his wife behind is not a good husband.
This is what we have experienced. By the time we got married, I had a provincial certificate in theology. She had a Grade Three Certificate in teaching.
After 25 years, I have a Master’s degree and she is pursuing the same at Makerere University. So, we have encouraged one another to upgrade. Our marriage has been based on free flowing unconditional love,” Bishop Luwalira explains.
Asked about what to do before one considers marriage.
“Trust in God and know it is him who created marriage. Consult him. Marriages, even Christian marriages fail because some people do not consult God. It is also important to examine what one bases on while choosing a partner.
“People should never base on the external features like someone’s looks and material things but focus on the inner man.
Couples should never compare and contrast their marriages with others’. And the unmarried ladies should patiently wait on God for a suitable partner,” says Faith Luwalira.
SOURCE: Daily Monitor