Pope Francis has approved Bishop Thadee Ntihinyurwa’s wish to retire from his duties as Archbishop of Kigali.
Ntihinyurwa was replaced by Bishop Antoine Kambanda who was Bishop of Kibungo Diocese.
In March this year, the 76-year-old Bishop Thadee Ntihinyurwa wrote to the Pope requesting to be allowed to go in retirement due to advanced age.
According to the Catholic Church’s doctrine, a bishop can request for retirement when he reaches 75 years of age. The Pope approves the retirement and appoints the new Diocese’s Bishop.
Bishop Ntihinyurwa turned 75 on September 73, 2017.
Shortly after his appointment as Kigali Archbishop, Bishop Antoine Kambanda told IGIHE that he is ready to serve duties with the help of God.
He said: “It is true; Rome has announced it. They are heavy duties but we are enabled by God. What follows is to relocate to Kigali and take over duties from my predecessor. I have not yet learned of the handover date because it has not been long since the news broke out,” said Kambanda as he talked to IGIHE’S reporter on phone shortly after his appointment.
Bishop Kambanda was born on November 10, 1958, in Nyamata Parish of Kigali Archdiocese.
He did his primary studies in Burundi and Uganda and continued with his secondary studies in Kenya. He completed his theology studies at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary of Nyakibanda.
He was ordained priest on September 8, 1990 by Pope John Paul II at Mbare, Kigali Archdiocese during the late Pope’s visit to Rwanda.
Upon his priesthood ordination, Bishop Kambanda started his mission as teacher doubling as the in charge of studies at Ndera Minor Seminary in Kigali.
Between 1993 and 1999, he went to continue with studies at the Alphonsian Academy in Rome, where he obtained a doctorate in moral theology.
From 1999 to 2005, Kambanda served as Director of CARITAS of Kigali Archdiocese, serving also as the Chairman of Justice and Peace Commission in the Archdiocese. He was also a teacher at Nyakibanda Major Seminary.
Between 2005 and 2016, Antoine Kambanda was the Rector of Kabgayi Major Seminary before he was once again appointed as Rector of Major Seminary of Nyakibanda, a position he left when he was appointed the Bishop of Kibungo Catholic Diocese on May 3, 2013 replacing Monsignor Kizito Bahujumihigo who had resigned from the position in 2010 amid financial troubles.
Monsignor Antoine Kambanda’s motto is “Ut vitam habeant’’, translating as, “That They May Have Life.”
Mgr. Kambanda replaces outgoing Thadee Ntihinyurwa who was appointed the Archbishop of Kigali Diocese March 9, 1996, a position he held after serving as Bishop of Cyangugu Diocese for a 16 year spell.
When a bishop retires, he is allowed to do other Church services like heading to a parish he wishes and supports priests or teaches in a school of his choice.