Tanzania Episcopal Conference Launches a Special National Fund to Support Major Seminaries

The Tanzania Episcopal Conference has launched Special National Fund to support major seminaries after the increase in number of vocations to priesthood in the country.

On behalf of the Tanzania Episcopal Conference (TEC), The Vice Chairman of the Conference Rt. Rev. Flavian Kassala launched the fund on September 10 this year, in collaboration with the Chairman of the National Board of the Major Seminary Bishop Joseph Mlola ALCP/OSS and the Executive Secretary of the National Board of the Major Seminary Father Alfred Kwene.

This took place in Iringa where bishops had gathered for the celebration of 125 years Jubilee of evangelization in Iringa Catholic Diocese and 50 years jubilee of priesthood for Bishop Tarcisius Ngalalekumtwa of Iringa Catholic Diocese.

Rt. Rev. Kassala explained that the bishops thank God for the increase in priestly vocations in the Church of Tanzania, so they remember their responsibility as baptized of praying, nurturing and support the vocations.

According to the changes of time, the demand for their responsibility is increasing now more than ever, especially the cost of sustaining the formation of seminarians who are tomorrow’s priests.

Being led by the Holy Scriptures ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few, so ask the Lord of the harvest to send workers into his harvest’ (Lk. 10:2), the bishops need a reliable local source of income in order to be able to meet the operational costs of the entire system of training for tomorrow’s workers in the Lord’s field.

“We your bishops have decided to start a Special National Fund to Support our major seminaries, that is ‘Catholic Major Seminaries Sustainability Fund’, without affecting other existing systems of support to formation at the diocesan levels,” said Bishop Kassala who added, “Therefore, I officially introduce to you this Fund as well as the guidelines prepared, and the blessings of all the bishops in order to achieve the good goal which is for the benefit of the Church in Tanzania and the world at large.”

He invited every baptized person and all those with good will to support the efforts through their donations so that the fund can achieve the goals outlined in its guidelines.

It is now time to be self-sustaining Church,” he has insisted.

The guidelines of the fund explain that during the 80th TEC Plenary in November 2022, the Conference endorsed the creation of the National Board of Major Seminaries -NBMS. It will be the main body responsible for managing over the Six Major Seminaries in Tanzania. The NBMS is the result of the merger of the Regional Board of Seminaries (RBS) and the Peramiho Board.

Meanwhile, the same Plenary approved a national fund drive to create the TEC Major Seminaries Sustainability Fund (TEC – MSSF). The formation of priests has been dependent on grants from Rome, writing projects for international Catholic partners and tuition fees. At this time grants for writing projects are no longer reliable, tuition fees do not fully meet the needs.

The fund to support the Major Seminary will guide the formation of the seminary in the 21st Century, among other things, by providing continuous funding for the project program and having the possibility to fund activities based on actual needs instead of depending on the priorities of donors. This will allow the seminary to invest in the appropriate technology and structures needed to advance teaching, research and community service.

The TEC- Major Seminaries Sustainability Fund MSSF is funded through contributions from dioceses, TEC institutions and other stakeholders, and it is projected to generate approximately TZs.2.8 billion over three-year time.

During the launch, the Vice President of the United Republic of Tanzania Dr. Philip Mpango contributed TZs. 10 million while Honorable Minister of Finance Dr. Mwigulu Nchemba through the Vice President promised to contribute TZs. 5 million, the Union of MPs in Iringa region has promised TZs 5 million, the Bishop of the Iringa Catholic Diocese of Iringa Rt. Rev. Tarcisius Ngalalekumtwa contributed TZs 5 million

After the national launch of the special fund, this launch is expected to continue at the Diocese level and Bishop Kassala has welcomed everyone to support the bishop’s efforts for the benefit of the Church in Tanzania and the Universal Church.