Rest in Peace Archbishop Emeritus of Mbarara Archdiocese, Paul Bakyenga Fourth among the 10 children of Sipiriano Kaamuza and Maria Gakibayo of Bum
Rest in Peace Archbishop Emeritus of Mbarara Archdiocese, Paul Bakyenga
Fourth among the 10 children of Sipiriano Kaamuza and Maria Gakibayo of Bumbaire, Igara in Bushenyi District, Archbishop Bakyenga was born on June 30, 1944.
He went to Ibaare Primary School, before he joined Ibanda Preparatory Seminary from 1958 to 1960. He attended his preprimary school in the church building at Bweeza, writing on sand and banana leaves.
In 1961, he joined Kitabi Seminary from Ibanda, and then enrolled at Bukalasa seminary in 1965 for A-Level studies but he did not complete. “At Bukalasa, we got stubborn and we were stopped,” he says.
He then tried to join Radio Uganda as a newsreader in the same year but could not raise transport to travel to Kampala in time for the interview and ended up missing out on the opportunity.
He decided to go to Rushoroza Seminary in Kabale and teach. He was paid Shs390, and he gave his father Shs319, who had become a squatter in Ngomanungi, present day Sheema District, to buy land to settle and feed his family.
Archbishop Bakyenga used the remaining Shs71 to buy a watch.
He then enrolled at Katigondo to study philosophy but abandoned the course two years after. At this point, Bishop John Baptist Kakubi of Mbarara, sent him to study at St Andrews College in Scotland, where he would obtain a degree in Theology.
He was ordained a priest on July 11, 1971 at Mushanga parish at the age of 27. Eighteen years later, 45-year-old Bakyenga was appointed Bishop.
He also served as Chaplain of Ntare School in Mbarara, Rector of Kitabi Seminary, and Rector of Ggaba National Seminary from 1985 to 1989, when he was appointed Bishop.
On January 2, 1999, Pope John Paul II appointed Bakyenga Archbishop at the age of 55.
Archbishop Bakyenga’s leadership was particularly strong in education and social services such as health – pioneering the St Joseph’s University in Mbarara, and a specialised hospital for children – The Holy Innocents Children Hospital at Nyamitanga – which treats children up to 12 years.
Kitabi Seminary and St Joseph’s Vocational School, remained among the top schools in Uganda under his leadership.