Father Deusdedit Byomuhangi — Mass, the love of people bring joy for 25 years
Father Deus came to the Diocese of Peoria on Dec. 10, 2013, to serve as a chaplain at Presence United Samaritans Medical Center in Danville. The medical center was purchased in 2018 and is now known as OSF HealthCare Sacred Heart Medical Center, where he is manager of the pastoral care department.
Born in Kabale, Uganda, his vocation to the priesthood was inspired by his uncle, Father Lazarus Kabashariira, who is now deceased. Admiration soon turned into a resolve to be like him. “He also wanted and encouraged me to follow in his footsteps,” Father Deus said.
He attended St. Adrian’s Minor Seminary in Rubanda and continued at St. Paul’s Seminary in Rushorooza, both in the Diocese of Kabale. He studied philosophy at St. Thomas Aquinas Major Seminary, Katigondo/Masaka, Uganda, and received a diploma in religious studies affiliated with Urbaniana University in Rome.
“I have been taught that to become and remain a good priest one is required of nearly all the virtues, but most of all one needs the virtue of humility. . . . It is very humbling to see how people trust and believe in me because I am a priest.”
Father Deus earned a bachelor’s degree in theology at St. Paul’s Major Seminary, Kinyamasika/Fortportal, Uganda, and another diploma in religious studies, also affiliated with Urbaniana University in Rome.
A post-graduate diploma in education followed in 2000, as did a master’s degree in intercultural theology in 2002, and a master’s degree in ecumenism in 2003.
Father Deus will travel to Uganda for a celebration with his “twin brother” in ordination on Aug. 21. He is looking to have a small gathering in central Illinois when he returns.
Mail may be sent to him at 109 W. 7th St., Georgetown, IL 61846.
What has given you the most joy in your priesthood?
There are many things that bring joy to me as a priest, but most importantly I find presiding over the Eucharistic Sacrifice of the Mass as my main source of energy, strength and joy and especially when I offer it for and with people who sometimes would not have had it were it not because of God’s favor and grace to me.
There is no greater joy for me as a priest to find that people love me. . . . I have been very lucky that wherever I have served, I have always found love. . . .
The other main source of joy is the brotherhood the priestly vocation gives to every ordained priest. It is so amazing to see that wherever I have gone, it is so easy for me to call a priest my brother, whether older than me or young and from any race. My joys in Danville come from the times I join the priests in my vicariate for lunch every Thursday and when time allows when I go hiking with the two other priests of the area. . . .
The most memorable moments in my life began with the time I joined the minor seminary at the age of 15, which was way back in 1982. From this time on every major step I took in the reception and admission to the major orders leading to my ordination were all memorable moments for me, climaxing with the ordination to the diaconate and then to the priesthood on Aug. 11, 1996.
Lessons learned in 25 years of priestly ministry?
I have been taught that to become and remain a good priest one is required of nearly all the virtues, but most of all one needs the virtue of humility. . . . It is very humbling to see how people trust and believe in me because I am a priest. The faithful can trust a priest with nearly everything. . . . I have been shown trust by so many people who have come to me and shared with me what they say they never ever shared with anyone else.
To enjoy one’s priestly life, you have to realize that you cannot walk the best walk alone. There is always need for me to allow others in my life for guidance and advice as we are social beings. . . .