By Juliet Lukwago
KASESE - Despite the recent unrest in Kasese district and neighboring areas, the Catholic Church went ahead with its initial plan and installed Acquirino Francis Kibira Araali as the new bishop for Kasese Diocese.
The colourful event, attended by huge crowds, took place outside Our Lady Mary of Assumption Cathedral on Saturday.
Acquirino Francis Kibira Araali’s installation comes after his appointment by Pope Francis, the head of the world’s Catholic Church.
The 56-year-old takes on the reins from the retired Bishop Egidio Nkaijanabwo, 79, who celebrated 25 years of his life as a bishop on the same day.
His installation means he will now place his full dedication to serving the Church in his position as new Kasese Diocese bishop which is within the Archdiocese of Mbabara.
Bishop Kibira becomes the second bishop of Kasese diocese since its establishment on June 3, 1989.
Dressed in his albs -- white priestly robes -- the bishop-in-waiting sat quietly moments before the Holy Mass began.
This pictured taken on phone shows the bishop-in-waiting (middle) moment before the Holy Mass started. PHOTO/Cissy Kagimu
A procession started the day off, with several VIPs in attendance, including the Pope’s ambassador to Uganda – Archbishop Michael August Blume – Emmanuel Cardinal Wamala, bishops from 19 dioceses in Uganda and several other dignitaries.
‘Stay away from tribalism’
Earlier, in the run-up to his installation, Araali called on his fellow priests to work closely with him and support him for the betterment of his apostolic work.
Formerly the rector of St. Paul’s National Seminary in Kinyamasika, he said he would always seek advice from his colleagues whenever necessary.
He warned that his diocese should distance itself from tribalism, saying “church organizations and Christians should learn how to live in a peaceful and diverse society".
The newly consecrated bishop, who is fluent in English, Italian and German, had served as rector of St. Paul’s from 1995 until only recently.
He thanked the Catholic Church for receiving him well and also recognized the “tremendous work” of his predecessor, whom he described as his “mentor”, to the people of Kasese and the entire country.
"The shoes I am wearing are still of the retired bishop,” he said, adding: “I have a lot to learn from him.”
The new bishop said he will work hand-in-hand with other actors to enhance development of the Church in the areas of spirituality and physical infrastructure. He also called on Christians and local authorities to not exclude the Church from the implementation of development programmes.
The choir sang at the event which saw Kasese's second bishop consecrated. PHOTO/Cissy Kagimu
A huge crowd of Faithful congregated outside Our Lady Mary of Assumption Cathedral on Saturday. PHOTO/Cissy Kagimu
Born in Kigoto-Bulyansugwe, Kamwenge district on April 16, 1958, Bishop Kibira studied at Bulyansungwe Primary School and later at St Mary’s Minor Seminary in Fort Portal district.
Before being ordained a priest on the September of 1984, he had studied philosophical studies at St. Thomas Aquinas National Seminary Katigondo and later theology at St. Mary’s National Seminary in Ggaba.
He continued his studies even in his life as a priest, doing so in Rome, Italy and in Jerusalem in the late 1980s and early 90s.
Among his several assignments as a priest included serving as;
- curate at Bukwali Parish in Fort Portal (1984-1985)
- professor at St Aquinas National Major Seminary Katigondo in Masaka now Kalungu district (1985-1987)
- assistant parish priest of St Charles Lwanga Parish in Fort-Portal (1991-1992)
- in charge of permanent formation of clergy of Fort-Portal diocese
- professor and dean of studies at St Paul’s National Major Seminary Kinyamasika (1992-1995)
- rector of St Paul’s National Seminary Kinyamasika (1995-2014)
Rtd Bishop Egidio Nkaijanabwo: Bishop Kibira’s successor
He was born on August, 29, 1935 at Rugazi in Fort-Portal and ordained a priest 27 years later on May, 28, 1961.
He was appointed and later consecrated as bishop of Kasese in 1989 until his recent retirement on April, 15 this year.
He has been a priest for 52 years and bishop for 25 years.