What you need to know:
- Fr Dominic Eibu fell into rebels’ hands first as a boy and later while pursuing priestly studies but that did not stop him from following his calling.
Ardent listener, soft-spoken, articulate, honest, and reliable is how Msgr Robert Ecogu, the vicar general of Soroti Catholic Diocese describes the designate Bishop of Kotido Diocese, Fr Dominic Eibu.
“He is supportive of the vulnerable, he naturally draws admiration and respect from those who live and work with him,” Msgr Ecogu adds.
Although Fr Eibu lives thousands of miles away from Rome, he sure did win Pope Francis’ admiration that he appointed him the overseer following the resignation of the pastoral caretaker of the diocese, Msgr Giuseppe Filippi.
Back at his home in Amotot Village, Apapao Sub-county, Kalaki District, Fr Eibu’s family, friends, and colleagues are ecstatic about his new appointment.
The 52-year-old Comboni missionary has been the parish priest for Sacred Heart of Jesus in Cairo, Egypt.
His 91-year-old mother, Ms Victoria Araro, has seen his son take up different pastoral missions abroad, but she cannot be prouder and more grateful to God for this position.
“I wish him well,” she says.
The last born in a family of nine siblings, Fr Eibu was mainly raised by his elder brother, Mr John Michael Engwaru, a retired police officer.
Mr Engwaru remembers his brother as a bright boy who loved hunting.
This lifestyle was cut short when he was abducted and recruited into the Uganda People’s Army (UPA) in 1987.
However, Mr Engwaru’s wife, Ms Margaret Amuge, sneaked the little boy and his other brother Juventine Agiru from Amotot Village to Kampala.
“It wasn’t his making, the UPA loved to use little boys as spies, so they had tried to do the same with him,” Mr Engwaru recalls.
The retired police officer then enrolled Fr Eibu to Kitante Hill School, Kampala, for his Senior 2 before he shifted him to Moroto District.
“I had to transfer my young brother to Moroto High School where I worked as a police officer,” he says, adding that it was here that Fr Eibu expressed his interest to join the priesthood.
“Little did I know that he had consulted Fr Omoding (RIP) about his wish to join Apostles of Jesus Nadiket Minor Seminary for A-Level, I didn’t block his wish,” Mr Engwaru says.
Fr Eibu would later pursue further religious studies in DR Congo and Sudan, which put his life at risk.
According to his family, these were the most frightening moments in his service because rebels and religious extremists abducted him.
“In Sudan, his crime was recovering Catholic assets taken by the state, in Congo, he was mistaken for a Ugandan government official,” Mr Engwaru recollects.
Despite working in a volatile environment, Fr Ecogu says his colleague never showed any signs of despair or weakness.
In DR Congo where he was a student, Fr Eibu and his colleagues were under rebel siege in Kinshasa until the local church leaders sneaked them out of the country.
While in Khartoum, Sudan, where he was serving as administrator of a Catholic-founded school, Fr Eibu was abducted by Islamist extremists, and only released after strenuous efforts from Church authorities.
“This did not dampen his spirit. He continued working in Sudan under tough security conditions and religious suppression until his appointment to Cairo, Egypt,” Fr Ecogu narrates.
Alongside his pastoral duties, Fr Eibu is also an educationist. According to Fr Ecogu, the bishop-designate has spent most of his priesthood managing academic programmes and education systems in Khartoum Province and in Latin Rite Province of Cairo.
While at home, Fr Eibu loves reading the scriptures and sharing needs with the community.
Bishop Dominic Eibu’s education and ministry service profile
Education: Born on April 30, 1970, Fr Eibu started his education at Kamidakan Primary School before he enrolled to Kitante Hill School in Kampala and Moroto High School where he completed his O-Level. He then enrolled at Apostles of Jesus Nadiket Minor Seminary for A-Level.
Fr Eibu had his postulancy at Comboni Missionaries Postulancy in Jinja where he undertook philosophical and Bible studies at Queen of Apostles Philosophicum, Jinja, and later studied at Comboni Missionaries Novitaite Namugongo. Thereafter, Fr Eibu pursued theological studies at Comboni Missionaries Scholasticate Kintambo, Kinshasa (DRC), St Daniel Comboni Scholastic Rome, for BA Theology Gregorian University, Rome.
Fr Eibu was ordained as a deacon in Rome on March 12, 2002 before becoming a priest on August 15, 2002 at Lwala Parish, Soroti Diocese in present day Kalaki District.
Ministry work: He had his ministry work in Khartoum Archdiocese, Sudan where he served as administrator of Comboni College Khartoum Basic School from 2006 – 2016. He also served as secretary of education in the Archdiocese of Khartoum from 2013-2016. He was a member and secretary of the College of Consultors and assistant secretary of the Presbyteral Council of the Archdiocese of Khartoum, Sudan (2014-2016).
While in Cairo, he served as the vice provincial superior of Egypt and member of the education committee at the United Nations High Commission for Refugees.
Fr Eibu holds a diploma in Arabic language and Islamic studies from Dra Comboni Arabic Language institute, Cairo (2002-2003) and Licentiate in Islamic studies, Pontifical institute for Islamic and Arabic studies, Rome (2003-2005).