The Catholic Church is investigating how a man, masquerading as a priest, hoodwinked worshippers and celebrated Holy Mass several times, recntly. The man claiming to be "Reverend Father Reuben Taremwa" participated in several 'healing' crusades at Catholic shrines in Kiwamirembe, Namugongo, Busega and Ggogonya. "Fr. Taremwa" claims to hail from Mbarara, but the clergy in Mbarara Archdiocese have disowned him. He had also initially declared himself a member of of the Venncetian Fathers, who are based in Entebbe. However, on some occassions he also claimed to be a member of the Montfort Fathers. The Vencentian Fathers became concerned and searched their database only to confirm that Taremwa is not one of them. They decided to forward the matter to the Auxillary Bishop of Kampala Archdiocese, Christopher Kakooza, who is reportedly investigating it. In addition, a senior priest in Mbarara Archdiocese says they have heard about Taremwa, but added that there are no Montfort Fathers serving in the archdiocese. However, those who have met him say the so-called Fr. Taremwa claims to have been ordained in Mexico before he was sent to Israel, where he claims to head a special prayer centre leading Catholics in charismatic prayers, which involve miracle work and healing. Fr. Reuben Taremwa first came to the limelight around May this year, when he was introduced to worshippers at Ggogonya by an unidentified nun at Ggogonya Convent as a priest who was known to pray for Christians and heal the sick and maimed. The nun reportedly claimed that this priest had the capacity to pray for those afflicted by HIV/AIDS and cancer, and heal them. A parishioner at the nearby Kisubi Parish, who only identified herself as Joan, decided to go there, as she wanted her mother to be healed from HIV/AIDS. I usually go to Kiwamirembe and Ggogonya for overnight prayers so our problems are resolved, Joan said. She explained that when she first came into contact with this Fr. Taremwa, she was surprised by his conduct. His preaching was weird. He was proud, proclaiming how he could heal and other priests could not because they were too greedy and could not fast from food, she recalls. Joan also recalls that on the first occasion when she attended Holy Mass, this Fr. Taremwa would pull people out of the congregation and embarrass them before proclaiming that they had been healed. Once, he reportedly turned on a woman who had been married for three years but was still childless. This man declared before the whole Church that the woman was childless because she had carried out so many abortions, so he was going to pray for her and she would be healed, Joan recalls. It is not known whether the woman got pregnant after this. But Joan said her mother and brother, who were taken to the priest for healing, are still sick. A nun who was crippled was told to throw away her crutches and walk, but she realised several hours later that she needed them, and is still using them todate. Despite these concerns, Kisubi Parish Priest, Fr. Edward Sekalembe, says this man was somehow allowed to participate in Holy Mass at Kiwamirembe shrine, Namugongo, and Busega. However, in all these places he never ever celebrated Mass on his own, preferring to let another priest be the main celebrant. His conduct always raised questions among the faithful, as he rarely participated in what is known as the Roman Rite, the usual sequence of prayers in Mass. His preaching also rarely touched on the themes of the readings taken during Mass. According to Fr. Sekalembe, this man preferred to hold confessionals before Mass, then capitalise on information obtained there to hoodwink parishioners that he had supernatural abilities. Priests are not allowed to mention anything they heard in confessionals. The penalty for doing this is so severe that one is usually stripped of the priesthood itself, Fr. Sekalembe said. What has perplexed Church authorities the most is the ease with which Fr. Taremwa was allowed to pass himself off as a priest. Fr. Sekalembe explains that the correct procedure for a priest leaving his station for another parish, diocese or country is to obtain a special introductory letter from his bishop. This letter, called a Celebrate, contains certain specifics about the priest in question, including when and where he was ordained and if he has ever been involved in any malpractice, as well as the signatures and seal of the presiding bishop and his chancellor.