His Grace, Lambert Bainomugisha was installed as the new Archbishop of Mbarara Archdiocese on 20th June 2020 in what was referred to as a ‘scientific’ installation due to the restriction in numbers in attendance. He had been serving as the auxiliary bishop of Mbarara Archdiocese from Aug 2005 to April 2020, following his appointment as archbishop by Pope Francis.
Bishop Lambert was born on July 12th 1961 in Kashumba village, Bukanga County in the present day, Insingiro district formerly known as Ankole district. In 1965, his family moved to Katojo village, which was part of Nyamitanga Parish. In 1971, he started school in Primary one at Buhujiro Church School which, was begun by the white fathers who were resident priests. When he completed Primary one, he moved to Kyabahesi Church of Uganda Primary School for Primary two to Primary four.
While in Primary four, his parents moved him to Kiyenje Primary School, a catholic school in preparation for the sacrament of confirmation, where he would later complete his primary seven. The archbishop noted that in 1976, while in Primary six, he began preparations to join the seminary. When he completed Primary seven, he eventually joined Kitabi Minor seminary for his secondary school both for O and A levels. In August 1984, he was admitted at Katigondo Major Seminary where he studied until June 1987.
In 1988, he was sent for pastoral work for a year in a parish at the diocese of Mbarara. In August 1988, he Joined National Major Seminary at Ggaba. On 13th July 1991, he was ordained a priest at Nyamitanga Cathedral in Mbarara diocese, a day after his 30th birthday. On the day of his ordination, he received his first assignment as the curate of Rubindi Parish by Bishop John Baptist Kakubi. He stayed in Rubindi Parish from August 1991 to August 1994, when he was sent to University of St Paul in Ottawa Canada to pursue studies in Canon Law by bishop Bakyenga. In Canada, he started a doctorate in Canon Law until September 2000, when he returned with a PhD in Canon Law. Upon his return, Archbishop Bakyenga appointed him the diocesan Chancellor, a role he played for five years until 2005.
In August 2005, Pope Benedict XVI appointed him Auxiliary Bishop of Mbarara archdiocese just fourteen years after his ordination, a post he held until 25th April 2020 when Pope Francis appointed him the new Archbishop of Mbarara Archdiocese. On 13th November 2009, the Holy See asked him to serve as Apostolic Administrator of Hoima, a position he held for six years until the new bishop of Hoima was appointed in 2015 and ordained on 29th February 2016. On March 20th 2016, he returned to Mbarara to continue with his role of auxiliary Bishop.
Archbishop Lambert had always seen himself as a priest from his childhood. He added that it must have been a calling from God because while he was growing up, he always looked up to the Priests serving at his parish. He explained that the Priests were the role models for the children at that time. He added that his father also played a role in moulding him to priesthood since he was a parish catechist.
By the Grace of God, the archbishop has been taking each day at a time until his recent appointment, which he said he could hardly believe. He said he asked himself how God had chosen him to that position, adding that he received the news with mixed feelings of anxiety and joy. He noted, “these responsibilities and interventions of life you receive with mixed feelings of Joy and there is also anxiety, but also, it’s a humbling experience. You ask yourself how did God choose me yet I am not the most perfect one to do his responsibility.”
Despite the mixed feelings, he had been indirectly prepared for the job during his course of Canon Law where he explained that they were taught the roles of a bishop. Also, during his time in office as the auxiliary bishop, he was exposed to many things, including living with Communion in the universal church and also harmony with other bishops.
He added that the position of auxiliary bishop helped him to realise the need to work as a team under the direction of the archbishop. He also noted that the position groomed him in working with the people as a shepherd in the diocese.
The archbishop noted that he is ready to journey together with the Christians of Mbarara archdiocese and will always stick by them, because they have shown him love and encouraged him in many ways. He added that together they are in the same boat and whatever storm that hits the boat, they will wither it together since they are all followers of Jesus Christ who calms the storm.
He added that, “when I was installed, I told the people of Mbarara that, I am one with them just like St Augustine said, “I am a Christian with them. I am first, I am equal, I am a Christian with them.”
By Irene Lamunu
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