His Grace Paul K. Bakyenga, Archbishop Emeritus of the Archdiocese of Mbarara has passed on at the age of 79. He died this Tuesday morning at Nsambya Hospital, in Kampala where he had gone for routine medical check-ups. He was Archbishop of the Mbarara Ecclesiastical Province from January 2, 1999 until his retirement on April 25, 2020.
Bakyenga was born on 30 June 1944, in Bumbaire Village, Igara sub-county, in present-day Bushenyi district. He was born in a family of 10 children of Sipirano Kaamuza and Maria Gakibayo. He attended pre-primary school in the church building at Bweeza, Bushenyi District. He went on to attend Ibaare Primary School, before he joined Ibanda Preparatory Seminary from 1958 until 1960. In 1961, he joined Kitabi Seminary, where he graduated with a High School Diploma. He was admitted to Bukalasa Minor Seminary for his A-Level studies but he did not complete.
My father was not rich, he grew up as an orphan, supporting himself and he never went to school. My grandfather was a pagan and not baptized, but my mother was longing for a God fearing man whom she found in my father. – Bakyenga.
After teaching briefly at St. Paul’s Seminary Rushoroza in Kabale District, he was then admitted at Katigondo Major Seminary to study philosophy but abandoned the course after two years. At this point, Bishop John Baptist Kakubi of Mbarara, sent him to study at St. Andrews College in Scotland where he obtained a degree in Theology.
He was ordained a priest on 11 July 1971 at Mbarara at the age of 27. He served as chaplain of Ntare School in Mbarara, Rector of Kitabi Seminary and Rector of Ggaba National Major Seminary from 1985-1989. Fr. Paul Bakyenga was appointed Bishop Coadjutor of Mbarara on 1st April 1989 and was ordained Bishop on 24th June 1989, and became Bishop Ordinary of Mbarara on 23rd November 1991, thereby becoming the fourth Bishop of Mbarara Diocese.
On January 2, 1999, the Holy See elevated Mbarara to an Archdiocese and Metropolitan See of the Western Uganda Ecclesiastical Province, and Pope Jophn Paul II appointed Bishop Paul Bakyenga as its first Archbishop. The Western Ecclesiastical Province is comprised of five dioceses namely: Mbarara Archdiocese, Kabale Diocese, Hoima Diocese, Fort Portal Diocese and Kasese Diocese. He was installed the first Archbishop of Mbarara on 11th July 1999. He retired on April 25, 2020 after reaching the canonical age of retirement and was succeeded by His Grace Lambert Bainomugisha as the second Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Mbarara. He has been a priest for 52 years, bishop for 34 years and Archbishop for 24 years.
May the soul of His Grace Paul Bakyenga rest in eternal peace.