The new Bishop of Kibungo Diocese, Father Antoine Kambanda, was consecrated yesterday in a colourful event attended by thousands of Catholic faithful from Rwanda and the region.
Speaking at the ceremony in Ngoma District , Prime Minister Pierre Damien Habumuremyi said the Church and Government were mutual partners, and should work together to improve the lives of the people.
“Religions and the Roman Catholic Church, in particular, partner with the Government in different aspects of nation building, including education, health and the reconciliation process,” the premier said. “We need to continue working together and working harder.”
Father Kambanda replaces Kizito Bahujimihigo, who resigned in 2010 after he reportedly failed to account for more than Rwf400 million that belonged to the Church.
Kambanda, 55, was until May the rector of Saint Charles Borromeo Major Seminary of Nyakibanda in the Southern Province.
He was ordained priest by Pope John Paul II during the latter’s visit to Rwanda in 1990.
Habumuremyi urged the new Bishop to work towards developing the diocese in a more sustained way.
He said the Church should continue to invest in the youth to help secure the country’s future. He urged him to address the difficulties the diocese faced in the past.
“You can count on the government’s support because we all serve the same people.”
Kambanda, who becomes the fourth Bishop of Kibungo Diocese, promised to serve the community diligently both spiritually and in physical life.
“We are committed to supporting government development programmes. Partaking in the development process is a responsibility for our parishes and this will be one of our priorities,” he said.
Pope Francis appointed Father Kambanda the Bishop of Kibungo Diocese on May 7.
Kambanda had been the rector of Nyakibanda Major Seminary since 2006.
He holds a doctorate in moral theology from the Alphonsian Academy in Rome, Italy.