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Popular Sequim priest moves to Port Orchard

Touching the lives of others is the message Father Henry Mulindwa left his congregation before departing on June 30.

Referencing Mark 5:25-29, a woman who had suffered from bleeding for 12 years thought that if she touched Jesus' cloak then she'd be healed. She did so and was healed.

"God has given me that touch that heals, too, that gives hope and energy," Mulindwa said.

Mulindwa has served at St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church for 18 months.

He recently was reassigned to St. Gabriel Catholic Church in Port Orchard and Belfair's Prince of Peace Church.

The churches are a 30-minute drive apart and serve 1,600 people between them.

"It's painful to leave a community you've known for 18 months," Mulindwa said.

The Rev. Victor Olvida of the Philippines will succeed Mulindwa today.

Mulindwa said he was needed elsewhere and that change isn't necessarily a bad thing.

"If there are no changes, then you would have never seen me here," he said.

"Now, I'll have a larger group of friends."

Mulindwa said his favorite parts of Sequim were the Irrigation and Lavender festivals.

"Sequim in general is so peaceful," Mulindwa said.

"Where I come from in Uganda, it is so noisy with traffic and such."

The heart of Sequim is in its people, Mulindwa said, and he would miss them most.

"People are so varied here, with farmers and businessmen and women," he said.

"They have the time to volunteer and the heart for it."

Mulindwa often worked with Marty and June Harshberger on functions involving youth, ministries, community outreach and service. The couple and priest frequently had dinner together, Marty Harshberger said.

"He has done more for this parish than anyone in a long time.

"There's no doubt in my mind, whether we're here or there, we'll visit each other."



Ugandan Scholarship Fund

In his time here, Mulindwa helped church member Barbara Brown pioneer the Uganda School Fund.

The fundraiser will stretch power lines three miles to bring electricity to a rural school in Masaka, Uganda.

About $40,000 has been donated to the project, and Brown is optimistic that the remaining $10,000 for the project will be received before winter.

Funds also are helping rebuild a dormitory that burnt down. Donations are in memory of 9-year old Yvonne Namaganda, who rescued her classmates while the dormitory burned. She ran in several times before the roof collapsed on her.

Marty said Mulindwa often mentions Namaganda in sermons and conversation.

"He never ceases to talk about how she is an inspiration to him," Marty said.

Once building projects are complete, Brown said monies would build scholarships for children in need as it costs $350 a year for a child to attend school. The average yearly income of a family is about that.

Brown said she will miss Mulindwa but she knows more opportunities will open up for him and the scholarship fund in Port Orchard.

Brown will continue fundraising in Sequim and on the peninsula.

In January 2010, a group will go to Uganda to tour the school and help out, Brown said.

Those interested in donating to the scholarship fund and/or wanting more information on the trip can contact Brown at 681-4363.

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