Fr Richard Sabiiti: An icon of education
What you need to know:
- Life well-lived. He was passionate about education and did everything possible to make sure that the community members acquire education. The Rev Fr Richard Sabiiti succumbed to cancer of the pancreas in March 2021, writes Alex Ashaba.
When I was six years old, my mother had passed on and our father remarried and by that time Fr Richard Sabiiti was ordained priest, he took me up together with other girls for studies, others dropped but me I remained in school, he educated me up to University,” Rose Kamanyire, a close friend and beneficiary of Fr Sabiiti.
Fr Sabiiti was pro education, especially for girl children and never wanted to see men disrespect women in the community.
“One day, he took his pillow case to the tailor and they made a skirt for me. He always wanted us to be comfortable and never wanted us to be mistreated by men,” Kamanyire says.
Fr Taddeus Tusiime who worked with him for three years, agrees that Fr Sabiiti was philanthropic.
“We have lost a generous priest because he helped many children acquire education. Whenever he was called for pastoral visit he would respond positively and he was a priest who lived by priesthood up to the time of his death.”
Fr Sabiiti died of cancer of pancreas at Nsambya hospital on March 9, 2021 and was buried two days later in Fort Portal City. The hardworking priest died at the age of 68 after serving 40 years and 10 months in priesthood. He left a legacy as an educationist in the diocese.
Fort Portal Catholic Diocese Vicar General Msgr Mayombo, says the deceased was called by God to be a Christian and he went ahead to become a priest where did many things to ensure that people received the word of God and taught the doctrine of Catholic church to other people.
“God called him and made him priest, he served us well and he did many things and by the time of his death he was teaching at Kaihura Catechetical Training Centre Fort Portal, in all his services where he was posted by the bishop he was obliged, he was priest who respected vows he made during his ordination,” Msgr Mayombo says.
Though his burial did not attract many eulogies, people described him as a priest who was down to earth who loved to work, not materialistic.
In his condolence message, the Kabale diocese Bishop Callistus Rubaramira described him as a humble priest. He got to know Fr Sabiiti when he was pastoral coordinator for the Fort Portal Catholic Diocese.
Fr Sabiiti was posted to serve as pastoral coordinator for the diocese from 1995 to 2000.
During the requiem mass for the burial of Fr Sabiiti, the Bishop Robert Muhiirwa of Fort Portal Diocese described him as a servant of God who listened and respected him in different places where he was posted to serve people God.
Bishop Muhiirwa says he loved to be organised and smart all the time which many people need to copy and that he loved to help the needy people.
“I have lost a priest who had mercy; he loved to help the needy people. He got a grant from outside Uganda and he decided to establish a project to help elderly people in Rubingo and we pray that God to have mercy on him” Muhiirwa says
In his project for elderly people, he collected about six old people and built houses for old people and he was taking care of them all the time.
To show love for people in the community, most of the Christmas time he would pray from his local church in Mukumbwe where he would interact with people and solve some of their problems.
Fr Ateenyi Bomera was described as a servant of God who was calm but principled and friendly to many people and he always kept his words and also he was peaceful.
Fr. Richard Sabiiti was born on 25/9/1953 in Rubingo village, Burahya county Kabarole District. His parents were Christopher Kiiza and Evasta Kahubire. He was ordained into priesthood in 1980.
He attended St Leo’s College Kyegobe for O-Level before joining Alokulum National Major Seminary, and later Ggaba National Seminary.
From 1992-1994 he went to for theological/ social studies.
1980-1981: Curate Virika Parish
1981-1983: Curate Bukwali Parish
1984-1992: teacher St. Mary’s seminary
1995 -2000: pastoral coordinator. Virika•
2001-2002: Curate South Africa
2002- Curate kamwenge parsh
2002-2004: parish priest Hapuuyo
2005-2009: Treasurer Office virika admin
2009-2010: Curate Bukwali
2010-2013: Parish priest Bukwali
2013-2015 Chaplin Nkuruba convent/ cenakle program
2015-2017, New Zealand in diocese of AUCKLand St. Joseph parish
2017-2021: Teacher Kaihura