Photo courtesy Erzabtei Sankt Ottilien

Behold I come to do your will, O Lord.

When Father Tuzinde Mgassa was ordained on 6th July 2022, his motto on his souvenir read: “Behold I come to do your will, Lord.” This was more than a motto on a souvenir. It was actually his vision. That is how he understood his vocation as a monk, missionary and as a priest. He understood his life as a call to do God’s will. Father Tuzinde was born on 3rd March 1969 in Tabora, Tanzania. He was the third child in the family of six children. His parents Steven and Anastasia Mgassa baptised their third born child and gave him the name Simon. He attended primary school between 1977 and 1983. From his early childhood he felt the call to become a priest and so he joined the Franciscan Seminary in Moshi in 1985. Simon finished secondary education in 1991. Soon after, he made a decision to join Ndanda Abbey and studied philosophy in Arusha between 1992-1995. He began his novitiate in 1995 and received Tuzinde as his monastic name. On the 28th June 1997 he made his first profession then he was enrolled in the Salvatorian Institute in Morogoro (1997 – 2002) for theological studies. Brother Tuzinde made his final profession in July 2001 and ordained a priest on the 6th July 2002.

After his ordination, Fr. Tuzinde made himself available almost everywhere he was needed. Deep inside, he was a pastor who loved parish work. He enjoyed working with all groups of people especially children and young people. He did all these when working as the abbey administrator. He was a simple, down-to-earth man and this made him associate very easily with others. In 2015 he became the parish priest in Mtwara and from there he moved on to Sakharani where he was appointed as the first prior of our simple priory. At the end of 2021 he was recalled back to Ndanda where he took a new task of teaching the novices and postulants. He did this while serving as in charge of our young brothers as well as helping out in parishes. As a side job, he was our archivist and house chronicler. He did these multiple tasks happily and faithfully until his death.

About ten years ago, Fr. Tuzinde started to experience difficulties with his heart. He frequently attended medical attention in Dar es Salaam and in the recent years, his condition had become much stable. Community life was everything for him. Be it community prayers or meals, Fr. Tuzinde would always be available. He would not absent himself without saying where he was, what he was doing and when he would be coming back. He was in many ways a good example of community living.

In the beginning of August, having obtained his superior’s blessing, he left for a pilgrimage trip in Lourdes via Germany. His short stay in Würzburg was uneventful and after witnessing a marriage of a young couple there, he left with friends for Lourdes. He fully participated in the pilgrimage programs including processions and celebration of Mass. On the late evening of 23rd August, after his dinner, while walking towards his hotel room, he apparently suffered a heart attack which forced him to the ground. Good Samaritans gave him the first aid and called the ambulance which took him to a hospital in Lourdes. In the early hours of 24th August, around 01:00 Hours, Fr. Tuzinde was pronounced dead. Fr. Tuzinde was lucky to enter heaven via the gates of Lourdes. We recommend his soul to the hands of our Lady of Lourdes and we pray that through her intercession, our confrere may find a safe passage to Christ. May he rest in peace. Amen.

Abbot Christian Temu and the Community of Ndanda together with Archabbot Wolfgang Öxler and the Community of St. Ottilien.

Funeral Mass and funeral will take place in St. Ottilien on Friday, 1.9.2023 at 10.30 Hours CET. On the same day at 11.00 Hours the memorial mass will be celebrated for Fr. Tuzinde in the abbey Church in Ndanda.