Rev. Robert T. Hesse, C.S.C. (December 15, 1926-February 3, 2007)
Father Hesse was born in Grand Rapids, MI and went to St. Thomas Parish Grade School and Catholic Central High School. He maintained a close relationship with his many Grand Rapids classmates throughout his life in Uganda. After obtaining an engineering degree from the University of Michigan, he entered Holy Cross in 1951. Ordained in 1958 he had his trunk packed to ship off to Bangladesh, but because of a last-minute reassignment, he was shifted to Uganda. He never looked back and spent his entire priestly life in that country dying in Kampala. His first assignment in Uganda was at Hoima Parish in the Bunyoro region where he was the curate in charge of schools. In 1961 he became secretary to Servant of God Bishop Vincent McCauley, C.S.C. in Fort Portal. In 1963 he was appointed pastor of Bukwali Parish, Kitagwenda, where he served for the next twenty-three years. He was widely known for his creative work with catechists and lay leadership, and also for his emphasis on education. In 1990 Fr. Bob generously responded to the community’s request that he move to Jinja as the founding pastor of Holy Cross Parish Bugembe. When he asked to retire as pastor, he continued to serve the people as an assistant to three succeeding Holy Cross pastors. Convinced of the importance of education for the development of Uganda’s people, he demonstrated a passion for the development of the facilities and quality of Bugembe’s schools.