A life given for the mission in the name of God

On 8th of October, Christians of Kambuga and Makiro parishes (Kabale diocese) in communion with comboni missionaries in Uganda celebrated 80th birthday of Fr. Paulino Tomaino, a comboni missionary. He dedicated most his life working as a missionary in Kigezi and Ankole regions. The feast was organized by old boys and old girls of Comboni College, one of the schools he founded in Kigezi region. It took place in Bishop Comboni College (Kambuga) in Rukungiri district.

Many people especially his former students from different parts of Uganda were present at the feast which began with a celebration of the Eucharist. Several people gave testimony of his witness as a missionary and a great educator. Most of his former students emphasized that they have grown in society leaders in various sectors of life because of the leadership roles Fr. Paulino imparted to them. He was also thanked by many parents and Christians from Kambuga and Makiro parishes for the work of evangelization and structures he helped to construct.

In his speech, Fr. Paulino was also grateful to all the people he worked with. According to him they collaborated in one way or another to do his the missionary work. He said: “Most of you have thanked me for all the works – schools and churches I built. But I whole heartedly thank for the greater work you did to me. All these years in Uganda you have built me as human person and a missionary. I thank you for that”!

Fr. Paulino says he has always been inspired by the words of St. Paul: you can do all possible wonders (works) but if you do not have love, all becomes useless. He affirms that as his missionary methodology, he has always focused on founding schools because he believes that evangelizations begins with children and grows on the parents. In all parishes he worked he built primary schools and secondary schools. Here below is how his missionary dream came to be fulfilled:

He was born in a small village, St. Peter Apostle, in south of Italy, the 4th of November 1937. After primary school, he joined the T.T.C, with a strong desire to become a teacher and help children. It was during this time of formation that a missionary came to his school. He had arrived from Sudan and talked about the situation of the people of Sudan. Africa is a big continent with big problems. Dear young people, he said, be serious, because the world needs you. But remember, somewhere in this immense world, there is somebody waiting for you, for your heart and your intelligence. He is calling you, he needs you, do not disappoint him.

He was a comboni missionary. Fr. Paolino took these words as spoken to him personally. And so, without hesitation, he left his school and joined the Comboni missionaries. That was in September 1956 at the age of 19 years. After his philosophical studies and theological studies, on 28th of June 1964, he was at the beginning of 1965.

He attended a course of the local language at Nyakishenyi and Mushanga from January to September. Then, he later went to Rushoroza, Kabale in Kigezi. At the beginning of January 1968, he was transferred to work in Kinkizi (in parishes of Makiro and Nyamwegabira). By January 1971 he was sent to south Kigezi in Buhara and Rwanyena. At the beginning of 1974, he was again in Rushoroza in charge of Lay Apostolate.

While he was in charge of Lay Apostolate, he took about 200 people from Kigezi to Rome for the Holy year 1975.According to Fr. Paolino it was great gift in his life. In the year 1976, he was sent back to work in Kinkizi (Makiro and later Kambuga). In 1981 Kambuga parish was opened and began the great and beautiful adventure of founding Comboni College which was officially opened in 1982. The Comboni missionaries handed over the college and Kambuga parish to Kabale diocese.

After some year Comboni missionaries were to work in Mbarara archdiocese, specifically in Kyamuhunga parish, Bushenyi. Fr. Paolino was sent there as the parish priest. He began the construction of St. Mary` s vocational school and Comboni hospital in the year 1991. And in the 2000 Fr. Paolino was asked to start Rushere mission in Nyabushozi. After completing 75 years of age, he retired from active pastoral activities. He handed over the canonical responsibility of a parish priest. However he continues dedicated to work for the poorest and abandoned the charism of St. Daniel Comboni. St. Paul writes to Thessalonians as follows: “….we felt so devoted to you, that we would have been happy to share with you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, so dear had you become to us” (1Thessalonians 2:8). The above words express gratitude of Fr. Paolino to all people whom he worked with up to his present age.