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Friday, 14 February 2014

The curse of falling prey to the deceptions of satanic man made institutions : The curse of shepherding the poor and doing many good works but ending up in hell : When a Ugandan Catholic bishop who died unsaved with a rosary in his neck was projected by the media and high profile politicians as an automatic candidate for heaven.

 

21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (Matthew 7: 21-23)


The bishop who shepherded the poor

Fallen Hoima bishop Byabazaire laid to rest

 
President Museveni lays a wreath on the coffin containing the
President Museveni lays a wreath on the coffin containing the body of Bishop Deogratias Byabazaire who was buried yesterday at Bujumbura Cathedral in Hoima. PHOTO BY PPU  

By Francis Mugerwa

Posted  Friday, February 14  2014 at  02:00
In Summary
The late bishop was described as a servant leader who put the needs of his flock ahead of his own. 

Hoima- The late Bishop of Hoima Diocese, Deogratias Byabazaire, has been buried at Bujumbura Cathedral in Hoima Town.
President Museveni, who was the chief mourner, described the 73-year-old fallen bishop as a fairly young man who had gone early.
He said the Bishop was a good shepherd who empowered people spiritually but also dedicated himself to poverty eradication.
The president challenged Christians and the people of Bunyoro to reflect on their contribution towards making the world a better place.
“The late bishop did spiritual and development work,” Mr Museveni said yesterday afternoon.
Bishop Byabazaire died on Saturday at Entebbe airport shortly after returning to Uganda from India where he had gone for treatment.
Leaders across the religious, political and cultural spectrums hailed the humility, simplicity and generosity of the deceased man of God.
The Archbishop of Mbarara Archdiocese, Paul Bakyenga, who studied with the late Byabazaire, said besides being a humble and generous leader, the late Bishop was involved in helping people have harmony in their homes.
On December 8, 2009 Pope Benedict XVI appointed Mbarara’s Auxiliary Bishop Lambert Bainomugisha an apostolic administrator of Hoima diocese to help Bishop Byabazaire who was on sick leave.

Archbishop Bakyenga said Bishop Byabazaire first suffered a stroke in June 2005 during a conference of Catholic Bishops of East Africa at Colline Hotel in Mukono.
“He was taken to Nsambya Hospital in Kampala but since then his life had never been the same again” Archbishop Bakyenga said.
He added that the late bishop will be remembered for surrendering his life to God and being obedient despite having a rich family background.
“Thank you Bishop Byabazaire for being a model shepherd and showing us the way,” Bakyenga said.
“I urge fellow religious leaders and Christians to use your gifts to add value to society,” he added.
The bishop who shepherded the poor 

Date: Feb 13, 2014
The bishop who shepherded the poor

Bishop Deogratius Byabazaire was installed as bishop of Hoima Catholic diocese in 1991
newvision

"Byabazaire once tore his new towel into two and gave the other half to his student"

By Pascal Kwesiga


He was from a rich family. He, therefore, lacked nothing. His father was a teacher, sub-county chief and a chief justice of Bunyoro Kitara kingdom. 

Naturally, he would have inherited the family wealth and built upon it, but at the time of his death, Bishop Deogratius Byabazaire Abwooli, had no material possessions worth writing home about. He had given up everything to follow Jesus.


Byabazaire passed on last Saturday at Nsambya Hospital in Kampala. He had, just hours before, returned from India where medics discharged him on Friday after showing significant improvement in his health.


Byabazaire was 72 years and had been battling hydrocephalus (cerebrospinal fluid in the cavities of the brain), a mild stroke and diabetes since 2009. At the time he was the Bishop of Hoima Catholic Diocese.

Early life

Byabazaire’s father, an ex-seminarian, always wished that one of his 14 children would join a religious order. It is said that at the age of four, Byabazaire chopped up ripe bananas and acting as a priest, lined up his siblings and gave them “holy communion”.
His father then encouraged him to join the seminary.

Man of devotion

From the time he was ordained priest on August 9, 1969, Byabazaire devoted all his time to his calling, according to his elder brother, Henry Kajura, first deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Service.

Kajura says Byabazaire spent all his time visiting schools, churches and hospitals.

“He never told me whenever he came to Kampala. I would only be told he had been around.”


Kajura says: “We gave him time because we did not want to fail him in his mission.”


According to Kajura, when a family member sought financial assistance from Byabazaire [pictured right as a seminarian in the 1970s], he would tell them: “I thought you had brought part of your wealth to the poor.”


“Byabazaire said the only thing he could do for us was to baptise our children and preside over our weddings and he did just that.”


Kajura adds that although bishops are entitled to a one-month leave in a year under canon law, Byabazaire did not take leave since he was ordained bishop of Hoima Catholic diocese in 1991.


Kajura recalls an incident during the silver jubilee celebrations at Nyamigisa Church in Masindi when Christians collected money for Byabazaire a few years ago, but he gave it to the headmistress of Nyamigisa Secondary School.


Kajura explains that since Byabazaire did not keep money or gifts he received, when he started writing his will, he found out that he only had a box of text books as his property. He had acquired the books from the seminaries where he taught.


“Byabazaire willed the books to universities and seminaries,” Kajura says.


At the time of his death, Kajura says Byabazaire was paying school fees for over 300 students in higher institutions of learning. “We should join hands and see them through their studies,” Kajura adds.


Lenard Muganwa, a brother of the deceased, says at the time Byabazaire was taken ill, he was sponsoring half of the students at St. Andrew Kaahwa’s College, a Catholic-founded secondary school near Bujumbura Cathedral.

Several bishops attended Byabazaire's funeral service at Rubaga Cathedral. PHOTO/Francis Emorut

Family, friends, colleagues and faithful attended Tuesday's funeral service. PHOTO/Francis Emorut

The nephew of the fallen clergyman, Edgar Muganwa comforts his sister Veronica Ssentongo. PHOTO/Francis Emorut
Victor Kajura, Byabazaire’s nephew, says a student of his uncle once told him (Byabazaire) he had everything he wanted to be in school apart from a towel. “He tore his new towel into two and gave the other half to the student.”

Ernest Kiiza, the Bunyoro affairs minister, describes Byabazaire as a bishop of the poor, who transformed the lives of many people in Bunyoro. “He lived for the poor and he was dedicated to his mission. He transformed the diocese and that is why he will be missed.”

What the clergy say

According to Msgr Mathias Nyakatura, the vicar general of Hoima Catholic diocese, Byabazaire’s generosity did not begin when he was ordained a priest. He studied with Byabazaire in Rome.


“Byabazaire was from a rich family and he had everything a student needed, but he gave all his personal effects and money to us,” Nyakatura says.


Having worked under him for over 20 years, Nyakatura says Byabazaire had never gone back to his ancestral home.


The Hoima Catholic pastoral coordinator, Fr. Robert Mugisa, says Byabazaire’s love for education was outstanding.


“I cannot count the number of students he sponsored in schools. Many of them have become priests and nuns,” he adds.


Mugisa says Byabazaire would spend half of his time at events he was invited to encouraging parents and children to focus on education.


“He supported women organisations, built schools and churches and lobbied for us to have Radio Maria to promote evangelisation,” he says.


Emmanuel cardinal Wamala says Byabazaire had a profound zeal for education. “He was passionate about education, especially girl-child education,” he says.


The archbishop of Kampala, Dr. Cyprian Lwanga, says: “We have lost a gallant son of Uganda, a very good bishop and a successor of the apostles.”


Lwanga adds: “Byabazaire had a large heart in which all of us fitted, he lived for his flock and we thank God for the life He gave him. Byabazaire gave himself entirely and we shall miss his humble voice and smile that greeted whoever met him.”

Byabazaire, Lwanga says, will be remembered for his unwavering love for education, poverty alleviation efforts and care for the marginalised.


“After expanding the church and building schools, Byabazaire was planning a university for Bunyoro before he fell sick,” Lwanga adds.


Bishop Lambert Bainomugisha says: “Byabazaire had two aspects that distinguished his service; service to God and service to humanity. Every time I met him, he talked about the mission. He has died at the altar of God and humanity. His shoes are too big to fit in.”


Bainomugisha was deployed by Pope Benedict XVI to Hoima Catholic diocese from Mbarara archdiocese in 2009 when Byabazaire’s health deteriorated.

BACK IN THE DAY: Byabazaire (centre) serving food at a function in Hoima
Byabazaire will be laid to rest today (Thursday) next to Bujumbura Cathedral in Hoima town. “He will be buried in a 30-meter long grave that will accommodate 10 bishops in a period of 100 years,” says Rev. Fr. Robert Matovu from the diocese’s construction department.

UNIFYING FACTOR

Byabazaire attended events organised by Anglicans

The wife of the bishop of Bunyoro Kitara diocese, Peace Kyamanywa, describes Byabazaire as a uniting factor.


“He was a Catholic bishop, but he attended all events organised by Anglicans. He would be the first to arrive and the last to leave. We shall miss him a lot and may God rest his soul in eternal peace,” she says.


The Bunyoro Kitara diocesan secretary, Rev Can. Sam Kahuma, says Byabazaire was humble, selfless and dedicated to his calling.


“We dealt with him on a number of occasions as the Anglican Church and he was humble,” he explains


Shem Byakagaba, a lawyer, says Byabazaire was the brain behind a forum of Christians living outside Hoima diocese. “He was exemplary. We used to go to him for advice as leaders,” he says.


Lawrence Bategeka, a director of Mandela Secondary School in Hoima, says Byabazaire had been working with Bunyoro Kitara Diocese Bishop Nathan Kyamanywa to start a university in Bunyoro. “Unfortunately that project did not go far when he fell sick.”


        FACT FILE      
  • Born on October 9, 1941 to Lawrence and Veronica Muganwa in Karujubu village, Masindi district.
  • A sixth born in a family of 14 children, Byabazaire attended St. Aloysius Primary School in Hoima town, Kitabi Seminary Mbarara before joining Katigondo Major Seminary in Masaka for a bachelor’s degree in philosophy.
  • He went to Urubania University in Rome, Italy, for a master’s degree in theology. He obtained a PhD in church history and community development from Germany in 1978. He later studied at the University of London and Sorbon University, France.
  • Ordained priest at Bujumbura Cathedral, Hoima, August 9, 1969.
  • Consecrated bishop in 1990.

Bishop Byabazaire left books to universities, seminaries 
Publish Date: Feb 12, 2014
Bishop Byabazaire left books to universities, seminaries

The body of the late Bishop arrives in Hoima. PHOTO: Robert Atuhairwe
newvision
By Pascal Kwesiga and Robert Atuhairwe

The Bishop of Hoima Catholic diocese, Deogratias Byabazaire Abwooli wrote a will in which he bequeathed text books-his only property, to Universities and seminaries, his brother Henry Muganwa Kajura has said.



“When he was writing his will, he looked around for property to will to someone…he realized he only had a box of text books and he willed them to Universities and Seminaries,” Kajura, who is the first deputy prime minister and minister of Public Service, said during a mass at his home in Kampala on Sunday. The Bishop, Kajura said acquired the books during the time he taught at various seminaries in Uganda.


Kajura sent mourners laughing when he explained that when one of their relatives sought assistance from him (Byabazaire), he said “I thought you have come to give part of your wealth to the poor,”


Kajura added “I think he (Byabazaire) knew that his relatives were rich enough to give to the poor. The only thing he decided to give us was to baptize all our children and wed them,”


He explained that by the time of his death, Byabazaire was paying school fees for 300 students in higher institutions of learning. “I know some of them are now going to come to me. I think we should join hands and see them through their studies,” Kajura who has paid school fees to many students including two who have become parish priests said.


The family, Kajura said missed Byabazaire profoundly because he spent most of his time discharging his priestly duties. “He spent his time visiting the sick in hospitals, schools and church. We did not want to fail him in his duties, we gave him time,” he added.


Kajura recalled an incident during the silver jubilee celebrations at Nyamigisa Church in Masindi when Christians collected millions of money for him (Byabazaire) a few years ago, but he gave it to the headmistress of Nyamigisa SS as soon as he received it. “People were disappointed. You can imagine people have collected money for you and you give it away in their presence,” he added.


The minister said although bishops are entitled to a one month leave in a year under canon law, his brother did not take leave since he was ordained bishop of Hoima catholic diocese in 1991. Kajura thanked the pope’s nuncio to Uganda, Archbishop Michael Blume, for the support and care his brother received from the church from the time he was taken ill six years ago.


“He (Byabazaire) was received by the pope’s nuncio in India where he was admitted there six months ago. The pope nuncios in countries where he was treated from have done their work,” he added.


Rev. Father Philip Balikudembe, who celebrated the mass, noted that Byabazaire’s zeal for education and pastoral work was extraordinary.


Yesterday, Byabazaire’s family held a meeting with the archbishop of Kampala, Cyprian Lwanga, to agree on burial arrangements.


According to the burial programme issued by Hoima Catholic diocese pastoral coordinator, Rev. Father Robert Mugisa, there will be a requiem mass at Rubaga Catholic Church today (tomorrow) after which the body will be transferred to Bujumbura cathedral in Hoima later in the day.


He explained that several masses will be conducted from today (tomorrow) during which Christians will be allowed to view the body until Thursday when it will be buried around the cathedral. The church has cancelled earlier plans to bury the bishop inside the church.


"We want a 30 meters long grave that will accommodate 10 Bishops in a period of 100 years." said Rev. Fr. Robert Matovu, from the diocese’s construction department.


Byabazaire, 72, passed away on Saturday morning at Nsambya hospital, shortly after he had been returned from India where medics discharged him on Friday after showing significant improvement in his health. He succumbed to hydrocephalus (cerebrospinal fluid in the cavities of the brain), a mild stroke and diabetes.

  • Installed as bishop of Hoima Catholic diocese on March 9, 1991.