Mbarara — The Mbarara Archbishop Paul Kamuza Bakyenga, 74, is planning to retire and has asked Christians to pray for him so that his wish is granted.
"The Catholic Church allows us to retire before 75 years because at that age, you do not have enough energy to run the operations of the church. Pray for me so that I can retire before 75 years," he said during the ordination of 12 priests and 12 deacons at Nyamitanga Cathedral Mbarara last Saturday.
Imploring the Pope
Archbishop Bakyenga clocked 74 years on June 30. He said he has requested the Pope to allow him retire because he feels the way he started serving in the church is not the same way he is doing so now.
The cleric was ordained priest in 1971, and consecrated Bishop of Mbarara in 1989. He was appointed Archbishop of Mbarara Archdiocese (covering Western Region) in 1999.
"When I was out of the country, I told Pope Francis that I wanted to retire but he neither accepted nor rejected [my request] so I am asking for your prayers so that Pope Francis can allow me retire because I feel I can no longer move on," said.
The archbishop asked the newly ordained priests to serve the people of God with commitment and lead by example.
Buhweju MP Francis Mwijukye said Archbishop Bakyenga has led Mbarara Archdiocese so well that he should be left to retire now that he feels his body is tired.
"This is a good indication from the church that you cannot lead until death. Everybody should know that you cannot be a life MP, President or chairman so we all need to emulate the Catholic Church and know that at a certain point, we shall be tired to lead, and allow other young people to lead us," Mr Mwijukye said.
The chairperson of Buhinda Parish in Bunyaruguru, Mr John Twesigye, said: "We should put him in our daily prayers so that he is allowed to retire before he is 75 years. Even the Pope asks Christians to pray for him so that he is able to execute his duties. We should also pray for him (Archbishop Bakyenga) to stay in good health. He has done tremendous things for the diocese."
Mr Didas Asiimwe, a Christian from Uganda Martyrs Church Mbarara, said the archbishop has increased the number of parishes, among other developments.
"He has done his best because the number of parishes has increased. He has attracted a congregation of Catholic Sisters to the diocese. He has established a children's hospital and established minor seminaries. We pray for him to retire," Mr Asiimwe said.
Mr Frank Ahimbisibwe from Kyabirikwa Parish in Isingiro District, said: "The Archbishop is a very good man. He has served us well. We pray that he retires as he is wishing."