Church in Uganda Preparing for First Ever Virtual Installation of Archbishop

Archbishop Lambert Bainomugisha to be installed as Archbishop of Mbarara Archdiocese in Uganda on Saturday, June 20, 2020.

Arrangements are underway in Uganda for installation of Archbishop Lambert Bainomugisha of Mbarara who will on Saturday, June 20 join the list of Church leaders that have been installed without the pomp and color that characterized practices of such magnitude in Africa before the outbreak of COVID-19.

On his installation, Archbishop Bainomugisha, 58, will become the second Archbishop of Mbarara Archdiocese after his April 25 appointment when Pope Francis also accepted the resignation of 75-year-old Archbishop Paul Bakyenga who has served the Archdiocese since his appointment as Coadjutor Bishop in March 1989 and later its first Archbishop in January 1999.

The installation ceremony will take place on the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary on Saturday, June 20, after being postponed several times, according to local media

Archbishop Emeritus Bakyenga told Ugandan media that his successor, Archbishop Bainomugisha will be installed in a special ceremony to be attended by only 100 people due to the COVID-19 restrictions.  

“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,” the retired Archbishop who will mark his 76th birthday on June 30 said. 


Canon law provides that unless lawfully impeded, a Cleric 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." 

The guests will include representatives of the Clergy, men and women religious, the lay faithful including political and civil leaders. The choir will be limited to a few people to minimize the risk of spreading COVID-19.

In an interview with Ugandan local media, Mbarara Archdiocese media relations Director, Fr. Charles Mutabaruka called upon other Christians and well-wishers to follow the function on TV, radio and social media. 

The media relations director explained that the installation is expected to have two phases. 

"There is the canonical one, in which the Archbishop will take possession of the Archdiocese, sometimes called installation. This is what will happen on Saturday,” Fr. Mutabaruka said.

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He added, “The second phase shall be more social and pastoral, where the entire Christian community in the Archdiocese, province and the country shall welcome and congratulate the Archbishop. Because of the COVID-19 lockdown, such an event shall be organized at an opportune time in future.”

Bishop Bainomugisha's virtual installation as Archbishop will not be the first in the world. It will be the 24th in the Catholic Church since the coronavirus pandemic restrictions began, Uganda’s New Vision has reported.

Since April 1, Pope Francis has made 90 appointments of Cardinals, Archbishops and Bishops. Of these, eight bishops have been ordained with less than 100 people in physical attendance.

Ugandan media reports that nine Prelates have also been installed in a ‘scientific' ceremony globally so far, out of the 13 scheduled between April and June. These included 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.

A Cleric of Mbarara, the Archbishop-elect Bainomugisha was born on July 12, 1961 at Kashumba, Bukanga (present-day Isingiro district) in Uganda and ordained a priest on July 13, 1991.


In July 2005, he was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Mbarara Diocese and ordained in October 2005. In November 2009, Pope Benedict XVI appointed him Apostolic Administrator of Uganda’s 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.

Agnes Aineah is a Kenyan journalist with a background in digital and newspaper reporting. She holds a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism from the Aga Khan University, Graduate School of Media and Communications and a Bachelor's Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communications from Kenya's Moi University. Agnes currently serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.