By Alvin Twebaze
The sad news of the demise of Emeritus Archbishop of Catholic church Mbarara has left the entire catholic community and native relatives in Bushenyi in grief.
Bakyenga, whose journey as a priest started in 1971 at the age of 27, passed away in the wee hours of Tuesday at St. Francis Hospital, Nsambya
He was succeeded by Lambert Bainomugisha as the Catholic Ecclesiastical province of Mbarara- that incorporates diocese of Kabale,Kasese, Fortportal,and Hoima.
A fourth born in a family of ten children of Sipriano Kamuza and Maria Gakibayo of Bumbaire cell ,Igara Sub-county in present-day Bushenyi district, Archbishop Bakyenga was born on 30,June,1944.
He went to Ibaare Primary School, before he joined Ibanda Preparatory Seminary from 1958 until 1960.He attended his pre-primary school in the church building at Bweeza, writing on banana leaves and sand.
In 1961, he joined Kitabi Seminary, where he graduated with a High School Diploma. He was admitted to Bukalasa Minor Seminary, in present-day Kalungu District for his A-Level studies but he did not complete.
After teaching briefly at St. Paul’s Seminary Rushoroza, in Kabale District, he was then admitted at Katigondo National 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 priest in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Mbarara, until 6 March 1989.
He was appointed Coadjutor Bishop of Mbarara, Uganda on 6 March 1989. He was consecrated as bishop on 24 June 1989 at Mbarara by Bishop John Baptist Kakubi, Bishop of Mbarara, assisted by Bishop Adrian Kivumbi Ddungu, Bishop of Masaka and Bishop Serapio Bwemi Magambo, Bishop of Fort Portal.
On 23 November 1991, he succeeded as bishop of Mbarara, replacing the late Bishop John Baptist Kakubi, who resigned. He was appointed first Archbishop of Mbarara on 2 January 1999, when it was elevated to status of Archdiocese.
His Grace Paul Bakyenga retired on April 25, 2020 after reaching the canonical year of retirement and was succeeded by His Grace Lambert Bainomugisha as the second Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Mbarara.