President Yoweri Museveni has described the deceased Bishop Emeritus Edward Albert Baharagate Akiiki of Hoima Catholic Diocese, as a religious leader who used his position to promote peace, unity and development in the country.
In his commiseration message read for him by the Prime Minister of Uganda, Ms Robbinah Nabanja, President Museveni said Bishop Baharagate was also a dependable religious leader and a great counsellor whose religious ministry touched many lives of people.
He urged people from all walks of life to emulate the fallen bishop by creating platforms for promoting peace for better communities.
The president urged Ugandans to embrace government efforts for socio-economic transformation including free education for all school going children, wealth creation and others.
The main preacher, Bishop Robert Muhiirwa of Fort Portal Catholic Diocese, challenged the mourners to borrow a leaf from the deceased bishop that will enable them leave a legacy revealing that Bishop Baharagate opened the way for the Rwandese refugees into Hoima Catholic Diocese where they became staunch followers.
Bishop Joseph Antony Ziwa Ndugwa of Kiira-Mityana Diocese who is also the Chairman of the Uganda Catholic Bishops Conference said through humility and simplicity, Bishop Baharagate inspired the youth to love and cherish God.
He said all his time, Bishop Baharagate was highly known for time management, being supportive to formal education, sports leadership and his efforts to cause socio-economic development.
State Minister for Works, Lt (Rtd) Fred Byamukama, urged the Catholic fraternity to live by Bishop Baharagate’s example who he said worked tirelessly to develop the life of Christians and the clergy through a number of initiatives like promoting education and sports among others.
The bishop was buried in a crypt in Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Cathedral, Bujumbura in Hoima Catholic Diocese on Wednesday, April 12, 2023.
Who was Bishop Baharagate?
Bishop Baharagate Akiiki was born on February 25, 1930 to Isidore Kwebiiha Abwoli and Febronia Kabanaku Abwoli of Abayonza clan at Nyamigisa village in Masindi district.
He was ordained a priest on December 7, 1958, appointed Bishop of Hoima Catholic Diocese on July 7, 1969 by Pope Paul VI.
On March 9, 1991, Baharagare resigned as bishop of Hoima Catholic Diocese and was replaced by Bishop Deogratius Byabazaire who has also since passed on.
The emeritus bishop died at the age of 93 on April 5, 2023, at Nsambya Hospital in Kampala, where he had been admitted.
Sources at the diocese say Bishop Baharagate had been battling diabetes for years.
Why are Catholic bishops buried in a church?
When Catholic Bishops and Cardinals die, they are buried in a crypt inside the church (cathedral), according to the book, making sense of saints authored by Patricia Ann Kasten.
In the book, Kasten wrote: “The early churches were built near or above the grave if the faithful or martyrs with physical Cathedral structure.”
Over the years, there have been close relationship between the remains of the saints and martyrs with a physical Cathedral structure. In 787, the second council of Nicaea, a Catholic sitting, it was decreed that all new cathedrals to be built with crypts inside where the saints would be placed.
In Rome, Italy, St Peter Basilica in Vatican, the capital city of the Catholic Church is sometimes called a necropolis. This is because the human bones have been found in the hollows and crevices in the foundation of the church.
These bones and remains are believed by the Catholics to be of Simon Peter, the most loved disciple of Jesus Christ, who is considered by the Catholics as the first pope of the Catholic Church, whom Jesus Christ Himself gave the keys of hades and heaven.
Also, another man who the Catholics consider to be a saint called St Thomas Aquinas, back in the 13th century said: “We should show honour to the saints of God. Therefore, in memory of them, we ought to honour their remains in a fitting manner.”
Source: Opera News