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Harness all Resources for “growth of our local church”: Ugandan Prelate at installation

Archbishop Lambert Beinomugisha during his installation at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Mbarara, Uganda.

At his installation as the new Local Ordinary of Uganda’s Mbarara Archdiocese Saturday, June 20, Archbishop Lambert Beinomugisha encouraged the people of God that will be under his care to work toward developing the Church at the grassroots through a spirit of generosity.

“Let us put our spiritual, human and temporal resources together, so that as to give a considerable contribution to the growth of our local church,” Archbishop Beinomugisha said on the occasion of his installation at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Mbarara.

He also encouraged the harnessing of “knowledge and skills, professionals and non-professionals, religious and secular from all walks of life in your different capacities so that we can sit down and together hatch out a plan of action and lay down pastoral strategies on how to minister in this Archdiocese.”

The 58-year-old Prelate appealed for togetherness “as a faith community” and “as members of one body of Christ so that we can advance the preaching of the good news for the growth of the church and the greater glory of God.”

“For you I am a Bishop, with you I am a Christian. Where I am terrified by what I am for you, I am given comfort by what I am with you,” he said.

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Archbishop Bainomugisha’s virtual installation as the second Archbishop of Mbarara Archdiocese was attended by only 100 people due to the COVID-19 restrictions. 

The Apostolic Nuncio in Uganda, Archbishop Luigi Bianco, representatives of the Clergy, men and women religious, the lay faithful including political and civil leaders were among those in attendance.

Pope Francis appointed Archbishop Bainomugisha as Local Ordinary of Mbarara on April 25.

At his installation, the new Archbishop expressed gratitude to the Holy Father for his confidence in him saying, “I'm very grateful to the Holy Father, Pope Francis, for appointing me to serve the Archdiocese of Mbarara.”

He added, “It is a great challenge and I want to pledge my loyalty to you, the people of God, and to the service of the church in the Archdiocese of Mbarara and the universal Church. I shall try my best with God's guidance to faithfully carry out the duties entrusted to me to the best of my ability.”

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The Ugandan Prelate who was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Mbarara in 1991 at the age of 30 takes over from Archbishop Paul Bakyenga who retired upon reaching the age limit.

At the Saturday event, Archbishop Bainomugisha expressed gratitude to his predecessor, acknowledging his selfless service in the Archdiocese of Mbarara.

“For the last 30 years, Archbishop Paul Bakyenga has courageously shepherded us and steered this Archdiocese through ups and downs, burning like a candle until he has successfully completed his term of office. I Congratulate the Archbishop emeritus for the noble service he has rendered to the people of God in this Archdiocese which is so vast and multi-dimensional in character,” Archbishop Bainomugisha said.

He added in reference to his immediate predecessor, “It is only a person of your caliber that could manage to do what you have done with great ability and accomplishment. Thank you, Your grace and as you retire, I want to assure you that together with the flock you shepherded we shall endeavor to take care of you.”

The Archbishop went on to acknowledged the role of other Church leaders saying, “I am building on the foundation laid by other Bishops way back in the 4th century like Saint Augustine who is the patron Saint of this diocese. I consider them (predecessors) not only as men of God but also real heroes whose inspiration and powerful support will assist us fulfill our responsibility of shepherding God’s people.”

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Recognizing the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary that coincided with this installation, Archbishop Beinomugisha said, “It is a blessing to celebrate the current event on the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This is not a mere coincidence; it is not an accident or something of mere human planning. I am convinced that it is by God’s providence and planning perhaps to emphasize the role of Mother Mary in our lives and in our ministry.”

On his part, Archbishop emeritus Bakyenga thanked his successor, Archbishop Beinomugisha for accepting the responsibility.

The 30 years spent at the helm of Mbarara Archdiocese have been full of “ups and downs”, Archbishop Bakyenga who will turn 76 on June 30 said, adding that it was by God’s grace that he lived through the three decades without any chaos.

Meanwhile, in a message read by the Minister for Local Government Raphael Magyezi to the people of God at the virtual installation, Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni acknowledged the contributions of the Catholic Church in eradicating poverty among locals all over the East African nation.

“We are ready to support the new Archbishop of Mbarara in his pastoral ministry,” President Museveni said adding that “the dedication of the church leaders and all Christians in Mbarara and other areas in Uganda has enabled the government to implement all its programs in all the districts in the country.”

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The Archdiocese of Mbarara was erected as a diocese in 1953 and elevated to a Metropolitan Archdiocese in 1999.

Previously under the Ecclesiastical Province of Kampala, the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Mbarara together with the dioceses of Hoima, Fort Portal, Kasese and Kabale make up the Ecclesiastical Province of Mbarara.