Br Robert Dias had his 90th birthday on 7th of June 2013 the Feast of Sacred Heart of Jesus. It was a working day so it was post–poned to Saturday the 8th of June which was the Feast day of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. How blessed that day was! Guests arrived from Rwanda and Burundi: FR CAMIEL SWERTVAGHER Provincial of the AGL residing in Rwanda,FR CELESTIN PIERRE NGOBOKA Vice provincial of the AGL residing in Rwanda, FR REMY NSENGIYUMVA Rector and Parish Priest of Rukago in Burundi
From Kamuli all confreres were present on that day; FR Jean Paul Ndayikenguste Rector of Kamuli community, FR Denis Habamunngu , BR John Njuguna
From Bombo community; FR CALLIXTE UKWITEGETSE Rector of the community, FR SOLOMON KOLANDAISWAMY, DN Gbaki of Sierra Leon, and Br HUYNH THANH LONG GIUSEPPE, and BR NGUYEN VAN GIA CAT JOSEPH
Namugongo community; all confreres were present, FR Richard Rector of the community, FR jean Marie Mushibwe, and BR ROBERT DIAS the Birthday Boy.
Kasana – Luweero Diocese was presented by Fr Cyril the chancellor of the Diocese. Present also were Religious sisters representing;Little sisters of St Francis of Assisi, Sacred Heart Sisters,Franciscan sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary from Bombo and two representing Dominican sisters of Namugongo. Present also were guests from other areas. The relatives of Br Robert were the first to arrive.
The Holy Eucharist began at 10:00am with a procession from the Community House to the main Chapel. Br Robert together with his relatives marched slowly accompanied by the Don Bosco Brass Band with other confreres following. The priest celebrant for Holy Mass Fr Camiel with other 10 priest co-celebrants the celebrant gave an appropriate introduction to the Liturgy of the day.
During the mass, every one participated fully with the priest celebrant. The choir was devotional and spirited making every one feel part of it. The provincial in his homily talked about article 53 in the Salesian congregation and saying that it is a blessing having Br Robert with us all.
He mentioned Psalm 89, it is a song to be sung in times of trouble and proclaiming God’s Faithfulness forever and also singing his constant love. As he was finishing the Homily, he said the 90years of Br Robert are for joy. He thanked God for the gift of Life, thanked Br Robert for his life consecrated to God, thanked him the years spent in the Salesian Congregation. He is to be called not only a brother but also a Big Brother. He also added that Br Robert keeps moving in the steps of Don Bosco under the protection of the Immaculate Mary Help of Christians. He thanked him for his missionary zeal and being a “CARING” brother.
During the offertory, there was a slight commotion; the Rector of Kamuli Fr Jean Paul had an abrupt attack of the dreaded sickness “malaria.” He was given immediate attention and taken to the nearby Angelina Clinic for emergency treatment. He is now convalescing, thanks to brotherly care of confreres.
After Mass, we gathered outside for the entertainment. Two big tents were erected for guests and boys. Fr Jean Marie the MC introduced to us the invited guests after which we had a brief talk from Br Robert‘s niece and her husband who expressed their great pleasure in being present for the occasion. Our boys recited a poem “CRACKING MILESTONE” It was well enacted and received a loud applause. There followed a few words from the chancellor of Kasana-Luweero Diocese Fr Cyril who came with a message from the Bishop of the Diocese His Lordship Rt. Rev Paul Ssemwogerere. This was followed by a comical skit and a dance from the boys.
Fr Camiel then gave his speech about Br Robert. Here he said Br Robert is the Dean of the AGL province. He thanked him for his love and great work for the Salesians. The provincial said that he knows Br Robert as a person who loves reading spiritual books and magazines so he gave him a gift of some books well wrapped in colorful paper. The provincial thanked Br Robert for all he is doing for the Salesians and the community.
Mention must be made of our own acrobats both small and big boys. They performed their acrobatic feats with verve and finesse in particular one senior acrobat who could somersault in the air with ease and perfection.
Br Robert had the final talk before cutting of the cake. He first greeted the boys and said that he was celebrating 90years because of them. He thanked God for the Gift of Life and posed a question, what is 90years? He showed the guests and the boys a news paper depicting a 95year old lady who made a pilgrimage on foot all the way from Mbarara to the shrine of Namugongo (some 300kms). He also showed to us a letter he received in Bombo when celebrating his 89years from a small girl with a statement “BUT DON’T FORGET GOD” so he emphasized for us present not to forget God. He also said that 8th June was the date when his parents were wedded in the year 1919. He wished everyone a nice and blessed day.
After his talk, a big chocolate cake was brought for the occasion. Br Robert together with his Rector, relatives and some others, the cake was cut. All had a good share of the cake. Lunch followed, for the invited guests, Salesians and uncles, food was prepared by a caterer. The boys had their own lunch, all ate together. Departure was at leisure. The boys enjoyed music up to 9:45pm and took their beds at 10:00pm.
All said and done, the various items dished out spoke of the sustained practice and exercise they have received at the hands of Salesians, uncles and teachers.