Who is Emeritus Archbishop Paul Bakyenga Kamuza

The emeritus Paul Kamuza Bakyenga, the first Archbishop of Mbarara Archdiocese and the second Bishop of Mbarara Diocese passed away this morning at Nsambya Hospital aged 79 years.

The news of his demise was confirmed by Reverend Father Charles Mutabaruka, the Communications Director of the Mbarara Archdiocese.

Born on June 30, 1944, in Bumbeire Igara village, Bushenyi District, Bakyenga dedicated 50 years of his life to the priesthood, serving as a priest for 52 years and as a bishop for 34 years. He played a significant role in the establishment of the Archdiocese of Mbarara, becoming its first Archbishop in 1999.

About Bakyenga

He had his primary education at Ibaare Primary School from 1952 to 1957 and from 1958 to 1960 studied at Ibanda Preparatory Seminary. He then went to St. Francis Xavier Kitabi Seminary in 1961 and 1965 joined Bukalasa Seminary for higher studies. He taught briefly at St. Paul’s Seminary Rushoroza in Kabale District before trying a stint at Radio Uganda.

In 1966, he joined Katigondo Seminary for philosophy but did not complete his studies. In 1967, Bishop John Baptist Kakubi, the then Bishop of the diocese sent Bakyenga to study at St. Andrews College in Scotland where he obtained a degree in Theology majoring in scripture studies.

Prief Life

Bakyenga dedicated his life to a distinguished career in the clergy, serving as a priest for 52 years and as a bishop for 34 years. The Emeritus Bakyenga, who never saw the invitation to be ordained to priesthood arrived in the country on July 8th, 1971 from Scotland, and went straight to Kitabi seminary to join other priests who were in a retreat until July 11th, 1971.

He was then ordained priest by Bishop J. B. Kakubi at Mushanga Parish. After his ordination, he was appointed Chaplain of Ntare Secondary School for two years. He was Rector of Kitabi Minor Seminary from 1973- 1974. From 1974 to 1978, he studied at the Biblical Institute of the Gregorian University in Rome where he was awarded a Licentiate Degree in Sacred Scripture.

On his return to Uganda, he was appointed Chancellor and Pastoral Coordinator for Mbarara Diocese from 1979 to 1982. From 1982 to 1984 he was Lecturer of New Testament Studies at National Seminary Ggaba after which he became Rector of the same Seminary from 1985 to 1989. On March 6th, 1989, Pope John Paul II appointed Rev. Fr. Paul Bakyenga the Co-adjutor, of Mbarara Diocese but was officially announced to the Christians on April 1, 1989.

He was then ordained Bishop and Co-adjutor for Mbarara Diocese on June 24th, 1989 at the fully packed Kakyeka stadium in Mbarara. On November 23, 1991, he was fully appointed the Bishop of Mbarara Diocese and installed on December 7th, 1991 taking over from Bishop J. B. Kakubi.

On January 2, 1999, His Holiness Pope John Paul II appointed him the first Archbishop of Mbarara with the suffragan dioceses of Kabale, Kasese, Fort Portal, and Hoima becoming the first Archbishop of Mbarara Archdiocese. He was installed as Archbishop of Mbarara on July 11, 1999.

Achievements

During his tenure as both Bishop and Archbishop, Emeritus Bakyenga held four leadership positions at the same time, namely: Chairman of the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences of Eastern Africa (AMECEA) from 2002 to 2008, Chairman of Uganda Episcopal Conference (2002 -2006), Chancellor of Uganda Martyrs University Nkozi, and Catholic University of Eastern Africa. Archbishop Bakyenga held several positions in the Uganda Episcopal Conference.

He was chairman of the Seminary and Priestly Formation Commission from 1990 to 1998 after which he became Chairman of the Health Commission and Vice Chairman of Uganda Episcopal Conference concurrently from 1998 to 2002. He was a member of the Board of Trustees for the Bible Society of Uganda, vice chairman of the Social Communications Commission, and member of the Health Commission of the Uganda Episcopal Commission.

He has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Centenary Bank since 1998.

Bakyenga is described by many as a person who feels with those who suffer and has compassion for orphans, the reason he started Holy Innocents Children’s Hospital at Nyamitanga in 2009 to treat children of 0 to 12 years. He started Radio Maria Mbarara in 1996 describing it as the Christian voice in homes to get the gospel closer to people and keep the Christian values.

He started the University of St. Joseph’s Mbarara among other institutions. Emeritus Paul K Bakyenga retired on the 25th of April 2020 after reaching the canonical year of retirement and was succeeded by His Grace Lambert Bainomugisha as the second Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Mbarara.

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