OPINION: Bishop Bakyenga was the Gleam of Humanity

RIP: Former Mbarara Archbishop, Paul Bakyenga (Photo/Courtesy)

By Sem. Robert Bigabwarugaba

It’s now 40 days since the late Archbishop Emeritus Paul K. Bakyenga departed from this world. In scripture, the number “40” signifies new life, new growth, transformation, and a change from one great task to another great task. Coincidentally, this happens when St. Mukasa Seminary remembers the famous accident.

On 1st September 2011, the mood was somber for both eyewitnesses and friends. What!? St Mukasa Seminary had been involved in a fatal accident that claimed two people dead, aboard a Maryhill High School Bus on a study trip to Mweya Safari Lodge in Kasese District.

Why all this narration!? The Archbishop being the ultimate Rector of seminaries in the diocese, came to the seminary that very evening to mourn and comfort the afflicted. What will never be forgotten, is that within ten minutes of his talk to the young boys, tears had been vividly seen running down his round chicks like river Nile flowing to the desert of Egypt. An Archbishop crying!? 

“It’s being human that will save mankind” This was his resounding statement on that day. He was trying to emphasize the vocation of being compassionate. Who would imagine an Archbishop shedding tears in his own blessed hands because of toddlers? A few!

One time, a Christian visited the late Paul K. Bakyenga to seek financial aid, before the Christian could fully speak out his interests. The Archbishop pulled out an envelope out of his pockets that had been handed over to him by a fellow generous Christian a few minutes that Christian had arrived, without knowing how much was in the envelope, he gave it to the Christian to take it and whatever he finds inside was all to be his. What? The young boy only wanted 400,000 shillings and in the envelope, there was two million shillings. Why? The man of God had observed misery and need in the eyes of the young boy before he could finish his touching story. 

Ancient philosophers describe the ultimate goal of man as happiness, for Bakyenga inclined his ultimate goal to fighting for humanity. Humanity differs from mere justice in that there is a level of altruism towards individuals included in humanity more so than in the fairness found in justice. For humanity expands our knowledge of human cultures and helps us understand what binds us together and what differentiates us from one another. This is what was painted in the heart of Bakyenga that helped him to avoid cases of indifference.

From the life of Bakyenga, we shall learn that how we see ourselves is the foundation for our values, our choices, our relationships with each other, and our relationship with the rest of nature. The secret of the heart is when reason and feelings meet and we become whole. This will prove that qualities that form the foundation of all other human qualities include Love, prudence, honesty, integrity, courage, self-awareness, and wholeheartedness.

Whoever interacted with the late Paul Bakyenga had to take home the concept of humanity which was to be human is to embrace humanity. He reflected humanity as he empathized with others’ pain and strive to alleviate their suffering. It is empathy that fuels our rationality. This dramatically shapes the society the same way Bakyenga did. 

Emulating Bakyenga and his philosophy on humanity will dramatically help us to protect life, and health and ensure respect for human beings while promoting mutual understanding. 

We shall later learn that only those who are inclined to the basics of humanity can understand the importance of human life and it is humanity as a result of intelligence that actually gives the core essence to human existence. This will help us to get what we want in life.

May the soul of His Grace Paul K Bakyenga RIP

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Sem. Robert Bigabwarugaba (robertbigabwarugaba@gmail.com)
Mbarara Archdiocese – PSY

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