When it comes to his priestly vocation, Rev Dr Fr Frederick Tusingire, cherished as Fr Fred by his flock, does not mince words.
“I chose priesthood as my vocation and given a chance I would still choose priesthood a million times,” Fr Fred said when asked if he would choose priesthood again, as he celebrated his priestly Silver jubilee on August 16.
The simple, humble and soft-spoken teetotaler priest has maintained a clean record since his ordination in 1989, a feat he attributed to intercession from his parishioners and friends. His devotion to his holy orders has kept him loyal and obedient to the church authority.
Tusingire has successfully accomplished his pastoral assignments in the various operational fields of service. He was Fort Portal town parish’s first priest. With 11 years as parish priest of Virika Cathedral parish, he is said to be the African priest who has served longest in that capacity.
Tusingire also led the building and running of the diocesan pastoral centre at Kinyamasika. He is currently the president of the senate of priests of the diocese of Fort Portal. This exceptional priest holds a first-class master’s degree in Missiology and a PhD in the same discipline studied in foreign languages including German and Italian.
As chaplain for lay apostolate (1998-2007), Tusingire saw to it that the constitution of the Council of the Laity was put in place and wrote the lay apostolate guide, which emphasized that missionary work is not an exclusive monopoly of priests.
Fr Fred was the organizing secretary for two diocesan synods (2000 and 2011). Synods are important instruments for the running of dioceses, as they are the source of policies and guidelines to be followed by the diocese. In 1992, he was appointed by Bishop Paul Kalanda as the pioneer dean (Vicar Ferone) of Virika deanery, just three years into his priesthood.
Tusingire has also contributed tremendously in the area of social development, supporting the foundation and running of several schools. Stella Maris Bunena Girls School, Kitagwenda High School, St Joseph’s Secondary School Karangura and Kyamiyaga primary school and several others have all benefited from Fr Fred’s generosity.
He is currently the chairman of the boards for Kitagwenda High School and Virika Hospital and School of Nursing. A productive household must be a healthy one, and Fr Fred ensures the needy get basic health care through Ihunga and Good Hope health units, both founded by him.
Tusingire’s passion for education plunged him into investing in building schools with a holistic philosophy of educating the mind, heart and hands. Already, spirituality and moral formation are rated supreme in the schools with his footprint.
For example, the female football team at his St Theresa Secondary School Mahyoro was the best in the district this year and represented the western region on the national level. For four years, the school has also emerged in the top three schools of Kamwenge district.
Fr Fred’s parishioners had every reason to celebrate his milestone, seeing as he secured two grain milling machines for two women groups. The women now also engage in small-scale trading, goat and poultry farming with help of an agricultural extension assistant facilitated by their priest.
His “Stay HIV-free and in school” message has impacted the carefree lifestyle associated with fishing communities of Lake George, Mahyoro and Bukurungo landing sites.
Not one to sit back and wait for ‘gavumenti etuyambe’, Tusingire has mobilized a motor boat to link Mahyoro landing site with Kasese to cut costs of circuitous transportation through Katerera in Rubirizi or via Kamwenge and Fort-Portal. That, in addition to constructing Ihunga Gravity Water Scheme that supplies clean water to Ihunga village and surroundings, makes him an exceptional servant of God.
His NGO, RENA Foundation, repaired the Mahyoro Community Water Supply machinery at a cost of Shs 9.7m. The Mahyoro residents had almost lost hope as their water scheme lay dysfunctional for three years with no sign of light at the end of the dark tunnel.
Thanks to his generous friends from his travels and study in Europe and beyond, at least 300 disaantaged children have passed through the hands of Fr Fred, graduating with certificates, diplomas and degrees in various disciplines from different prestigious tertiary institutions and universities. About 300 other beneficiaries are still under instruction at different levels: nursery, primary, secondary and tertiary institutions, thanks to his hand in their lives.
Born in Kisa, Bushenyi district, Tunsingire holds diplomas from Katigondo national major seminary, Ggaba national major seminary and Makerere University, as well as a BA in theology, an MA and Phd, all from the Pontifical Urban University, Rome.
Source : The Observer