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Mbikko Community Eulogise Missionary Priest Leonard Wiedemayr :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Mbikko Community Eulogise Missionary Priest Leonard Wiedemayr

Several communities within Njeru Municipality in Buikwe District continue to eulogise fallen Catholic priest, Fr. Leonard Wiedemayr, in remembrance of his selfless service towards the less privileged individuals in society. Wiedemayr, a missionary priest attached to the Mill Hill Missionaries, died on August 15 in his home country of Austria. He was 92.
The potrait of late Fr. Leonard Wiedmayr.
Several communities within Njeru Municipality in Buikwe District continue to eulogise fallen Catholic priest, Fr. Leonard Wiedemayr, in remembrance of his selfless service towards the less privileged individuals in society. 

Wiedemayr, a missionary priest attached to the Mill Hill Missionaries, died on August 15 in his home country of Austria. He was 92.

Wiedemayr is the founding priest of the Mbikko Parish under Lugazi Diocese, where he constructed a 400-seater St. Karoli Lwanga Church, dormitories and staff houses. 

Wiedemayr is celebrated for educating orphans and less privileged children, constructing houses for the widows and elderly, and donating startup capital funds and cows to selected women and youth groups, within the Njeru community. 

He also funded the construction of St. Noa Mawagali SSS in 1992, the only secondary school within the parish, which was meant to foster the education of dozens of youths under his care. 

Leonard Ssali, the head teacher of St. Noa says that Fr. Wiedemayr was a humble man who, despite serving as the chairman Board of Governors, agreed to conduct Physics lessons, as a means of beefing up the efforts of the junior tutors at the school. 

Ssali stresses that Wiedemayr also constructed a Carpentry workshop and a standard football pitch, which generate surplus incomes to fund both the schools’ development programmes and other parish projects.

While concluding the five days of celebrating the life of Fr. Wiedemayr in Njeru Municipality on Monday, Assumpta Kaganda, a Catholic women guild leader in Mbikko Parish said the fallen priest was tolerant and patient with whoever he interacted with. “I worked closely with Fr. Wiedemayr and his willingness to offer fair service to all categories of people, coupled with his steadfastness towards forgiving whoever wronged him were two remarkable virtues about him,” she said.

Paddy Buyondo, the head of the Fathers’ Union at the Mbikko Catholic Parish said Wiedemayr was a visionary leader who not only steered infrastructural development at the Church but also constructed houses for community members without prior consideration of their religious affiliations. “Most of the community members within Njeru are either direct or indirect beneficiaries of Fr. Wiedemayr’s selfless service, through the housing units constructed for several individuals irrespective of their religious affiliations,” he says.

Fr. Joe King, the Parish Priest of Mbikko says that Wiedemayr was a prayerful priest who deliberately loved both God and people unsparingly, which virtue is evident in his works to promote both spiritual and household development initiatives, within the communities where he served. “He has been a Missionary par excellence and as a believing community which he founded, we return gratitude towards God for his love of witness,” he says.   

A Missionary is born

Popularly known as Fr. Len within Mill Hill circles, Leonard Wiedemayr was born on the 26 April 1930 in Kartitsch, Austria. His parents were Ludwig Wiedemayr, a blacksmith and Teresia Egger. They had five daughters and two sons.   

After primary and secondary education in Lienz, the Diocesan seminary in Schwarz, and Absam, Wiedemayr felt called to be a Mill Hill Missionary. He began his priesthood formation studies in 1951, Brixen before proceeding to study theology at St. Joseph’s College, Mill Hill, London, England. In the final stages of his studies, Wiedemayr took the Perpetual Oath to be a lifelong member of the Mill Hill Missionaries.   He was ordained a priest on 8 July 1956 in Mill Hill. 

After his ordination, Wiedemayr was sent for further studies at St. Louis University, USA, where he attained a Master of Science in Mathematics and Physics, in 1959.   

In 1960, Fr. Wiedemayr was appointed to what is now the Archdiocese of Tororo, Uganda. Fr. Wiedemayr spent his first 15 years in Uganda as a teacher at St. Peter’s College, Tororo, Namilyango College and Nagongera Seminary.   

The Priest   

In 1976 Fr. Wiedemayr was appointed Parish Priest of Osia while he continued to teach at St. Peter’s College until 1986. The following year, after a short sabbatical at St. Bueno’s in Wales for three months and Nemi in Italy for six months, he was appointed to Our Lady of Fatima, Gangama as the Parish Priest and part-time teacher at St. Paul’s College, Mbale until 1991.   

In 1992, Fr. Wiedemayr was appointed to head St. Charles Lwanga Parish, Mbikko. It is here that his missionary and development work fully blossomed. He founded St. Noa Mawaggali Senior Secondary School where he taught until 2000.   

In 2001 Fr. Wiedemayr moved to Kotido Diocese where he served in Town Chapel, Cathedral, Loyoro and Panyangara parishes until 2014 when he returned home to Austria where he continued his priestly work.   

His 54 years of missionary work in Uganda will forever be punctuated with building local churches, convents, schools, hospitals, women's centres and technical workshops. Most importantly, he will be remembered for empowering the catechists and lay pastoral councils as the primary agents of evangelisation.   

At 5 pm on Friday, August 19, Cathedral Parish in Kotido Diocese held a requiem mass in his memory. Fr. Wiedemayr was laid to rest on 20 August 2022 in his home village of Kartitsch. 

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