Museveni reveals he allowed burial of Italian priest on Uganda soil

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Museveni reveals he allowed burial of Italian priest on Uganda soil
Late Rev. Fr. Paolino Tomaino

President Museveni held a meeting with the family of the late Rev. Fr. Paolino Tomaino at State House, Entebbe. Rev. Fr. Tomaino, 87, was one of the longest-serving Comboni Missionary Priest and philanthropist in the Mbarara Ecclesiastical Province and he died on Sunday, March 3, 2024, from Milan in Italy.

The Italian-born Priest of the congregation of the Comboni Missionaries is hailed for transforming the catholic faith, education and health sectors during his many years of service in Mbarara Archdiocese through setting up projects like Bishop Comboni College – Kambuga, Kyeibuza and Lamezia health centres, among others.

During the meeting, President Museveni said he didn't know Fr. Tomaino personally, but he knew his good work as a man of God.

“I have known the works of the catholic priests here for a long time in all parts of Uganda,” the President said.

“When Raphael Magyezi (Minister for Local Government) told me about Fr.  Tomaino's sickness, I said let us support him to get some treatment and when he died from there, I said let us support his wish of being buried here.”

President Museveni also thanked Fr. Tomaino's family for supporting the fallen Priest when he was still alive to fulfil duties.

“I want to thank the family of Fr.  Tomaino, first of all for giving him to Africa and then supporting him when he was here because those Churches and schools he was building, he was being supported by his family. And now we thank you for allowing him to be buried here,” President Museveni affirmed.

The President further advised his guests that apart from humanitarian work, they should use their social contacts to encourage Italian businesses and companies to come and invest in Uganda.

“If Italian companies are encouraged by friends to invest here, they will create jobs, and enable the government to get more revenue and foreign exchange for the country. So, Italy can play a very big role in the transformation of Africa because Africa has got everything like raw materials and labour, what we need is capital and entrepreneurship,” he emphasized.

President Museveni also pledged to award Fr. Tomaino with a Posthumous medal during this year's Heroes Day in recognition of his role in transforming Uganda.

Addressing the late priest's educational initiatives, President Museveni proposed the completion of a church-aided school  known as Sedes Serpientie Kanoni Girls School in Kyamuhunga , Bushenyi District in Father Tomaino's memory, underscoring his enduring impact on education in Uganda.

Rev. Fr. Tomaino's family led by his sister Maria Luisa thanked President Museveni for the support the government of Uganda rendered towards the fallen Priest.

“Allow me to thank you on behalf of our extended family for loving our son, Fr. Paulino Tomaino. We highly appreciate the support you have extended to Fr. Tomaino for specialised treatment. Although he didn't make it, we appreciate the rich heart you exhibited, Your Excellency,” Ms. Luisa said.

“We appreciate you for having allowed his wish of being buried in Uganda by repatriation of his body, facilitating 20 family members to accompany him to his resting place in Uganda.”

Ms. Luisa also informed President Museveni that Fr. Tomaino had his call when he was a Seminarian at 25 years of age when a Priest from Sudan gave them a talk that deeply touched his heart and made a decision to offer his life in Africa for the service of others.

“He arrived in Uganda in 1965 and never looked back. He gave his entire life living for others and trying to uplift their lives. He had a special love for children, the poor and the vulnerable. Because of his integrity and honesty, his work was able to flourish. We thank the Government of Uganda under your leadership and your good government policy that provided a conducive environment that enabled him to do his work,” she said.

“He has died as an accomplished Priest and servant of God and that puts us in peace. Thank you for having granted him duo-citizenship which he deeply cherished and enabled his work to be easily granted.”

 

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