Parishioners of Our Lady of La Salette Nyakibale Parish were on Sunday filled with excitement and jubilation having their son ordained a priest after 43 years of “barrenness.” This was on Sunday August 13, 2023 at the Thanksgiving Mass when Fr. Paul Bamwenzaki was celebrating his first Mass at his home in Kihumuro Centre, Nyakibale Parish. In his homily during Mass, the preacher of the day, Rev. Fr. Januario Nomugisha told masses gathered that God’s delays are not denials. He said God took 43 years to give Nyakibale Parish another Diocesan Priest in the names of Fr. Paul Bamwenzaki. God does not call the qualifies, but he qualifies those he calls.
Fr. Paul Bamwenzaki was born at Kihumuro Hiika, Nyakibale Parish, on March 2, 1994 to Mr. Paul Rwebibunda (RIP) and Mrs. Turyagyenda Mary Gertrude. He is the 8th born out of the 9 children. He went to Kihumuro Primary School from 2001-2007 for PLE. He was at St. Charles Lwanga Seminary Nyakibale from 2008-2011 for UCE. He went to St. Paul’s Seminary Rushoroza from 2012-2013 for UACE. From 2014-2017 he was at St. Thomas Aquinas National Major Seminary Katigondo where he obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy and a Diploma in Philosophical and Social Studies. From 2017-2018, Fr. Paul Bamwenzaki was Pastoral Spiritual Year at St Adrian’s Seminary Rubanda. St. Paul’s National Major Seminary Kinyamasika from 2018-2023 where he obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology and a Diploma in Theological and Pastoral Studies. He was ordained a deacon on August 13, 2022 at Rushoroza Cathedral Parish and a priest on August 12, 2023 at at Rushoroza Cathedral Parish. The Christians of Nyakibale parish gifted Fr. Paul Bamwenzaki with an Brand new car to aid him in his priestly miistry.
In his speech, Fr. Paul Bamwenzaki thanked God who protected him till the day he was ordained a priest because his life had been full of challenges with sickness. He also expressed gratitude to his parents who supported him in his journey of education to completion. He said after his S.6, he had been offered a government scholarship Makerere University but left it to join Katigondo National Major Seminary for priesthood and was supported y his parents without haste. He also thanked the Bishop of Kabale Diocese for ordaining him a priest on Saturday, August 12, 2023. Fr. Paul expressed his thanks to all the people of God who made all sorts of contributions and gave him support especially in his priestly training especially Eng. Denis Twesigomwe, Dr. Adrian Bainebyabo and Dr. Besimbire Zephrino who contributed much in paying cost sharing after the death of his father. He requested the faithful of Nyakibale Parish to always pray for him so that he remains a committed priest after the Heart of Christ, the High Priest.
History of Nyakibale Parish
Nyakibale Parish was established on 19th October 1929 by the the White Fathers (now known as the Missionaries of Africa). It is the second oldest Parish in Kabale Diocese after Our Lady of Good shepherd Rushoroza Cathedral Parish which was created on November 1, 1923. It was curved out of Kitabi Parish (in the current Mbarara Archdiocese) which had been created on 2nd October 1919. Nyakibale Parish got its name from the stones along the stream down the current Nyakibale Lower Primary School where the road was initially passing and as people crossed the stream, they referred to that place as aha kibale hence the name Nyakibale. Before the establishment of Nyakibale as Parish, Christians used to move to Kitabi for church activities.
The first Parish priest of Nyakibale Parish was Rev. Fr. Van Ertryck (RIP) who was coming from Canada and led the parish from its establishment in 1929 to 1931 when he died on March 10, 1931. He is buried in the Parish cemetery. The first baptism in Nyakibale Parish was conducted on 20th October 1929. The first catechist was was called Festo Katebire (RIP) who came from Kitabi. He helped in teaching omugigi and construction of Parish structures. The first church to be constructed was grass thatched, but later a permanent church made of bricks and iron sheets was constructed at its current location. In the 1940s and 1950s, the church was expanded by extending and creating wings and side of the altar, to make it appear like cross. The Banabikira Sister from Bwanda in the present Masaka came to Nyakibale Parish in 1932 to help in instructing people in religion, by teaching them prayers, and catechism across the young Nyakibale Parish. Ekigango was constructed where catechism classes were conducted by the Banabikira Sisters. Omugigi would take 12 compulsory months.
Nyakibale Parish remained under the leadership of White Fathers until 1975 when they were replaced by the native priest, Fr. Pius Tibanyendera as the first African Parish Priest up to 1977 when he was replaced by Fr. Aloysius Banyenzaki (1977-1980). It was in 1979 that the write up Tugyendere hamwe omuri Kristo was inscribe on the walls of the church in remembrance of the celebration of the centenary of faith in Uganda (1879-1979).
Nyakibale Parish had centres or emiruka which were located far from the church headquarters where priests and catechists spread the Word of God and Catholic Faith. These were Makiro, Ndama, Nyakishenyi, Rutooma, Rwamagaya and Rwengiri. These centres were later elevated to parish status in diffrentent years: Makiro in 1944, Nyakishenyi in 1962, Rwengiri in 19867, Ndama and Rutooma in 1984, Rwamagaya in 1991 and lastly Christ the King Parish Rukungiri in 2006. As of today, Nyakibale Parish has 6 centres, 16 hiikas, and 312 Small Christian Communities (Obutaagi).
Since its inception, Nyakibale Parish has produced only 8 priests (3 Missionaries and 5 Diocesan) and over 30 religious women spread in different congregations. The Diocesan Priests of Nyakibale Parish are:
- Rev. Fr. Athanasius Kakurungu who was ordained on December 6, 1957 and died on January 10, 2010.
- Rev. Fr. Polycarp Kobusheeshe who was ordained August 17, 1965
- Rev. Fr. Aloysius Banyenzaki who was ordained December 13, 1970 (currently belonging to Rutooma Parish)
- Rev. Fr. Constante Bansikiza who was ordained on May 11, 1980 (currently belonging to Rutooma Parish)
- Rev. Fr. Paul Bamwenzaki who was ordained on August 12, 2023 after 43 years.
Missionary Priests from Nyakibale Parish.
- Fr. Alousyus Byamukama ordained in 1991.
- Fr. Vianney Owomukama ordained in 2021
- Fr. Venansio Nabasa ordained on February 18, 2023.