Mbarara’s new archbishop replaced retired Archbishop Paul Bakyenga, who became archbishop emeritus on April 25. Born on June 30, 1944, in Bumbaire, Igara in Bushenyi district, Bakyenga made 75, the retirement age of Catholic prelates.
Mbarara Archdiocese is ready for a ‘scientific' installation of its second archbishop, Lambert Bainomugisha. Archbishop Bainomugisha was appointed by Pope Francis on April 25.
The installation ceremony, which will take place on the Feast of Immaculate Heart of Mary on June 20, will be the first-ever ‘scientific' installation in Uganda.
Mbarara's new archbishop replaced retired Archbishop Paul Bakyenga, who became archbishop emeritus on April 25. Born on June 30, 1944, in Bumbaire, Igara in Bushenyi district, Bakyenga made 75, the retirement age of Catholic prelates.
Explaining the installation
Bakyenga said Archbishop Bainomugisha will be installed in a special ceremony to be attended by only 100 people due to the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.
"The ceremony could not wait for the lockdown to be lifted because, according to the Church law, it has to take place not more than two months from the day of the appointment," he explained.
Canon law says a priest, who is promoted to the office of diocesan bishop, "must take canonical possession of his diocese within four months of receiving the apostolic letters. If he is already consecrated, he must take possession within two months of receiving the apostolic letters".
According to the Canon law, the ceremony will not make Bainomugisha an archbishop because he became one the moment the Pope appended his signature on the appointment letter. That signature also retired Archbishop Bakyenga, together with his vicar general, Fr Deusdedit Bukenya. The Pope immediately appointed Bakyenga Apostolic Administrator until Bainomugisha takes possession of the archdiocese.
Mbarara Archdiocese media relations director Fr Charles Mutabaruka explained that the installation is expected to have two phases.
"There is the canonical one, in which the archbishop will take possession of the diocese, sometimes called installation. This is what will happen on Saturday. The second phase shall be more social and pastoral, where the entire Christian community in the diocese, province and the country shall welcome and congratulate the archbishop. Because of the COVID-19 lockdown, such an event shall be organised at an opportune time in future and will include the participation from suffragan dioceses of Hoima, Fort Portal, Kasese and Kabale," he said.
Mutabaruka said Archbishop Emeritus Bakyenga set up an organising committee for the function, chaired by Fr Bukenya.
Canonically, the installation ceremony is held in the cathedral where the seat of the archbishop is located. Because of the ‘scientific' arrangement, only 100 people will be allowed in.
The guests will include representatives of priests, religious, parishes, laity as well as political and civil leaders. The choir will be limited to a few people to avoid compromising the health of participants.
Mutabaruka called upon other Christians and well-wishers to follow the function on TV, radio and social media.
Mutabaruka said when the installation ceremony starts, the archbishop will personally present his apostolic appointment letter to the college of consultors in the presence of the chancellor of the archdiocese.
The chancellor is Fr Bonaventure Turyomumazima. He will then make a formal record of the development and, thereafter, the archbishop will take his apostolic seat, known as the cathedra (from the Latin word for armchair).
A cathedra started in the early Christian basilica as a raised seat, or throne, of an archbishop or bishop. Thus, a cathedral is literally a church into which a bishop's official cathedra is installed.
Today, the Catholic Church discourages the use of the throne reference and prefers to call it a bishopric seat. The seat is a symbol of the bishop's teaching and apostolic authority in the Catholic Church. It is placed behind the altar or on the left side of the altar.
Not the only one
Bainomugisha's ‘scientific' installation will not be the first in the world. It will be the 24th in the Catholic Church since the coronavirus pandemic lockdowns began. At the installation of Archbishop Matthew Ishaya Audu of Jos in Nigeria on March 31, only 50 people were allowed to attend.
Since April 1, Pope Francis has made 90 appointments of cardinals, archbishops and bishops. Of these, eight bishops have been ordained in a ‘scientific' ceremony. Only one of the two from Africa, Bishop Salvator Niciteretse of Bururi, Burundi, was ordained with crowds. The other, Bishop Ildevert Mathurin Monanga of Kinkala, Congo, had a ‘scientific' ordination. Other bishops who had a ‘scientific' ordination are two are from Asia, four from North America, four from South America and six from Europe.
Nine prelates have also been installed in a ‘scientific' ceremony so far, out of the 13 scheduled between April and June (one cardinal, four archbishops and eight bishops). Two of these, (Archbishop Jean Patric Iba- Ba of Libreville, Gabon and Bishop Peter Ebele Okpaleke of Ekwulobia, Nigeria) are from Africa. Three are from Europe, two from Asia, one from North America and five from South America.
The head of laity of Mbarara Archdiocese, Gervase Ndyanabo, congratulated and welcomed the new archbishop.
"The most important thing is that our new archbishop is installed," said Ndyanabo, who is also the president of Uganda National Catholic Lay Apostolate.
He called on Christians to follow the installation on radio, TV and social media. Ndyanabo asked Church leaders to explain to the Christians the situation so that they appreciate the need for a ‘scientific' ceremony.
He also praised Archbishop Emeritus Bakyenga for being a strong leader, a good preacher, teacher of faith and a parent.
The executive secretary for the lay apostolate, Bonny Gordian Nkabakyenga, expressed gratitude to Bakyenga for having served to his best and ensured the unity and development of the archdiocese.
"I am particularly happy that after the retirement of Archbishop Bakyenga, the Holy See did not delay, but chose one of the children of Mbarara Archdiocese to shepherd it," Nkabakyenga, who is also a member of the Central Organising Committee, said.
He welcomed the new archbishop and promised total allegiance to him. He said after the lockdown, a befitting ceremony to officially receive the new archbishop would be held.
Bainomugisha and Bakyenga
Bainomugisha was born on July 12, 1961, at Kashumba, Bukanga (present-day Isingiro district). He was ordained a priest on July 13, 1991, at Mbarara Diocese. On July 2, 2005, he was appointed auxiliary bishop and ordained on October 1, 2005. On November 13, 2009, Pope Benedict XVI appointed him apostolic administrator of Hoima Diocese after the death of Bishop Deogratias Byabazaire, where he served until Bishop Vincent Kirabo was installed as new bishop. On April 25, Pope Francis appointed him the Archbishop of Mbarara.
Mutabaruka said this gives him good experience and understanding of the task that lies ahead of him. Archbishop Emeritus Bakyenga became priest on July 11, 1971, was appointed bishop on March 6, 1989, and ordained on June 24, 1989.
He succeeded the late Bishop John Baptist Kakubi as bishop of Mbarara on November 23, 1991. John Paul II elevated him to archbishop on January 2, 1999.