Catholic Bishops in Tanzania Make Canonical Visit to The Vatican

Sarah Pelaji

The Catholic Bishops in Tanzania are on ‘Ad Limina Apostolorum Visit, an obligatory visit to the Vatican in Rome made by all bishops from different countries in the world to meet with the Holy Father and Vatican officials,.

According to the Secretary General of the Tanzania Episcopal Conference TEC Rev. Charles Kitima, the official visit starts on 14th -21st May this year.

All Catholic bishops from 34 dioceses in Tanzania including auxiliary bishops and the Secretary General of TEC are participating in the Ad Limina except Bishops Emeritus.

The Code of Canon Law dictates that the visits are supposed to occur every five years. The aim is to present a quinquennial, or rather, a detailed report on the state of a diocese.

Each Diocese presents to the Holy Father and the Vatican an update on the activities of the bishop and diocese in several areas, including the liturgical and sacramental life of the local Church, Catholic education, evangelization, communications, social teaching of the Church, the financial state of the diocese and more. The chapters roughly correspond to the departments and offices of the Vatican.

“This is a pilgrimage that involves all the bishops of the Catholic Church in Tanzania who are usually in accordance with the Church’s procedures, should meet the Holy Father after every five years to pray and visit the sacred places at headquarters of the Catholic Church in the World the Vatican, and presents detailed report on the status of their diocese” said Fr Kitima while addressing the staff of the TEC Secretariat.

TEC last AD Limina Apostolorum Visit was held in 2014. During the visit Pope Francis was impressed to know that all bishops were Tanzanian indigenous which proved the firm foundation of missionaries and the work of evangelization is done through internal missionary.

In his speech he stated that, the Church in Tanzania is blessed with many gifts for which we must all give thanks to God.

 “I think, in the first place, of the impressive history of missionary work throughout the region.

Building upon the zeal and sacrifices of the first evangelizers, you must always maintain and foster this missionary imperative, so that the Gospel may increasingly permeate every work of the apostolate and shed its light on all areas of Tanzanian society.

In this way, a new and dynamic chapter in the great missionary and evangelical history of your country will be written,” he stated.

He was encouraged to know that Tanzania is committed to ensuring the freedom of worship that followers of various religions enjoy to practice their faith.

During Ad Limina, bishops are privileged participate the audience with Pope Francis, visit and conduct Masses at the major churches of Rome; St. Peter’s Basilica, St. Paul Outside the Walls, St. John Lateran and St. Mary Major. In addition, the bishops will meet with officials from many of the departments and offices in the Roman Curia.