On Saturday, April 25, 2020, the Rt Rev Fr Dr Lambert Bainomugisha, who has been the auxiliary Bishop of Mbarara, was appointed Archbishop to replace the retiring Paul Bakyenga.
The Archdiocese of Mbarara, created in 1999, has four dioceses covering the entire Western Uganda.
“Your Grace and brothers and sisters in Christ, I receive this news with mixed feelings of fear and trembling but also feelings of joy and in a very awkward time of social distancing but I want to pray that you do not socially distance yourselves [from me],” Dr Bainomugisha said.
He was appointed assistant to then Archbishop Bakyenga by Pope Benedict XVI on 2nd July, 2005. Born on 12 July 1961 in the diocese of Mbarara (before it became archdiocese), Dr Bainomugisha studied in Uganda and in Canada.
He obtained a PhD in Canon Law at St Paul’s University, Ottowa. Ordained as a priest on 13 July 1991, he ministered for a few years in parishes, before going to Canada to complete his studies.
Before 2005 [when he was appointed Bishop], Dr Bainomugisha was chancellor of the diocese and chaplain at the general House of the Sisters of Our Lady of Good Counsel and the Community of Poor Clares.
His predecessor, Archbishop Bakyenga, was ordained a priest in 1971, and consecrated Bishop of Mbarara in 1989. He was to later be appointed Archbishop of Mbarara Archdiocese in 1999, a position he has served in until April 25th, 2020.
The new Archbishop has appreciated Bakyenga’s role in supporting the church for over 30 years and said he’ll continue, along with the faithful, to pray for him.
“I thank you your grace for bearing this pleasant but heavy burden for more than 30 years. You have done a good job and on behalf of the faithful of the archdiocese of Mbarara we thank you for the support you have given us for all these years and we still count on your support and of course your presence as the first archbishop of Mbarara and onto you my brothers and sisters we count on your prayers and support thank you.’’ Bainomugisha said.
Bakyenga announced his desire to retire in June 2018 when he told the faithful on his 74th birthday that he had asked the Pope to retire him because ‘he didn’t feel he would service, beyong 75, the way he had served in the earlier years.’
“When I was out of the country, I told Pope Francis that I wanted to retire but he neither accepted nor rejected my request, so I am asking for your prayers so that Pope Francis can allow me to retire because I feel I can no longer move on,” Bakyenga told Catholics in Mbarara.
The main seat of the Catholic Archdiocese in Mbarara is at Nyamitanga, in the heart of Mbarara Municipality.