Mbarara Catholic Archbishop-elect Lambert Bainomugisha has said he was gripped by mixed feelings of joy and fear when he received news of his appointment on Saturday, April 25, 2020.
Rt Rev Dr Bainomugisha, who has been the auxiliary Bishop of Mbarara, was on Saturday appointed the Archbishop to replace the retiring Paul Bakyenga.
In a message to the faithful on Saturday evening, Archbishop-elect Bainomugisha said he first trembled at the news.
“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,” he said.
He added: ‘’We may physically distance ourselves but be socially close to each other because we have a contribution as Christians, this is a time where people are trying to do their best to contribute towards the eradication of this COVID-19 but we as Christians we contribute by prayer and I think it is a very important contribution. As we pray for the alleviation of COVID-19 pray for us too that the Lord may keep us close to himself and close to the flock of Christ.’’
Bishop Bainomugisha also appreciated the outgoing Archbishop’s role in supporting the church for over 30 years ‘’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.’’
Bishop Bainomugisha was appointed assistant to Archbishop Bakyenga by Pope Benedict XVI on 2 July 2005.
Bishop Bainomugisha was born 12 Junly 1961 in the then diocese of Mbarara. He studied in his own country and in Canada obtaining a PhD in Canon Law at St Paul University Ottowa. He was ordained a priest on 13 July 1991 then ministered for a few years in parishes, before going to Canada to complete his studies.
Before being appointed Bishop, he was chancellor of the diocese and chaplain at the general House of the Sisters of Our Lady of Good Counsel and a community of Poor Clares.
The Archdiocese of Mbarara, created in 1999, has four dioceses.
Outgoing Archbishop Bakyenga, 74, in 2018 revealed that he was planning to retire and asked Christians to pray for him so that his wish could be granted.
“The Catholic Church allows us to retire before 75 years because at that age, you do not have enough energy to run the operations of the church. Pray for me so that I can retire before 75 years,’’ he said during the ordination of 12 priests and 12 deacons at Nyamitanga Cathedral Mbarara in 2018.
Archbishop Bakyenga clocked 74 years on June 30, 2018. He said he had requested the Pope to allow him retire because he felt the way he started serving in the church was not the same way he was doing so then.
The cleric was ordained priest in 1971, and consecrated Bishop of Mbarara in 1989. He was appointed Archbishop of Mbarara Archdiocese (covering Western Region) in 1999.
“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 retire because I feel I can no longer move on,” he said.