Iringa Catholic Diocese has celebrated the 125 Jubilee of Evangelization on September 10 this year where more than nine thousand believers attended.
In his homily, the President of the Tanzania Episcopal Conference TEC, Most. Rev. Gervas Nyaisonga thanked the first Benedictine missionaries who planted the seed of faith in Iringa.
The missionaries agreed to respond to Christ’s call to ‘go’ so they left their home in Europe and came to Africa (Iringa) to plant the seed of faith.
“Thus, they responded to the call of Christ in the Gospel of Mark chapter 16 verse 15, Go into all the whole world,’’ said Archbishop Nyaisonga.
“When they arrived in Iringa, they spread the Gospel with humility because they found people with their indigenous religions, traditional leaders and other religions. They never considered themselves superiors than others but went to them and got permission to continue with the mission,” he explained.
“It should be remembered that the missionaries were not sent to the Catholics. They were not there, after all. Rather, the missionaries came to preach the Good News to all people and then they planted the seed of Catholicism. That is the spirit of the Catholic faith. We are for all,” he continued adding that at that time, there were environmental and soci0-economic challenges and the missionaries did not destroy what was there, but rather they improved it to give it more value.
“They heard the terrible news of other missionaries around Pugu, Nachingwea and others, how they were being killed, how they got attacks, objections, diseases and the like, but they did not give up. They fulfilled their duty to go and evangelize Iringa,” he said to underline the missionaries’ resilience and mentioned that some of the fruits of that missionary zeal in Iringa is Bishop Tarcisius Ngalalekumtwa and Bishop Mario Mgulunde who have continued the work of missionaries until today.
Most Rev. Nyaisonga congratulated the first missionaries, leaders of various religions and traditionalists, the first believers who accepted the missionaries and gave them the opportunity for the Good News to be preached in Iringa.
He has also congratulated the Catholic faithful of Iringa, priests, Religious men and women for continuing the missionary work until today.
During his speech as Guest of Honor, the Vice President of the United Republic of Tanzania Hon. Dr. Philip Mpango, gave a speech aimed at developing people’s conscience and morals in Tanzania. Earlier, he congratulated the Iringa Catholic Diocese on the 125th anniversary of evangelization. He then urged the Catholics to pray for more vocations so that God will increase workers in his vineyard. He has congratulated the missionaries for successful evangelization through sacrifices, tears and a lot of sweat to ensure that Iringa recognizes Christ.
Presenting the government’s greetings, Hon. Dr Mpango said that government recognizes the contribution of the Catholic Church and other religions in providing various social services with the aim of developing the society spiritually and physically.
He made it clear that, in Mafinga, Tosamaganga and Consolata Minor Seminary there are many professionals in government and private institutions who got education through those schools.
He has said that there are doctors in his office and even the officer who prepares him speeches got education in Iringa Catholic schools. That shows how the Church is and how it builds professionals from various fields.
He further explained that in the current era, there are false teachings that are not compatible with religious teachings. Some believers rely on miracles instead of working hard, yet the Holy Scriptures direct that one who does not work should not eat, even the government insists the people to work.
In addition, he mentioned that there has been a wave of extremist positions that cause people to sacrifice themselves and lose their lives.
“There are some preachers who accumulate personal wealth from the offerings of poor people with various problems and problems including widows, orphans, the sick, unemployment, lack of children, poverty. And the victims are mothers,” Dr Mpango said adding that there have also been preachers who openly support homosexuality. The reason for the spread of false teachings in the technology, information and communication.
“I ask religious leaders to use the opportunity of information and communication technology to rebuke false teachings and preach the Word of God. To teach the believers and insist them to be responsible by working hard to get rid of themselves economically,” he insisted.
He reminded religious leaders about the issue of morals including parents, guardians, youth and children.
“Young people think that imitating everything on the internet is being modern without thinking that our customs are different from those of the West. There have also emerged terrorist groups of young people who commit crimes, drug trade, sexual violence especially against women and children, an increase of the street children, children of single parent, street children and marriage conflicts etc.,” he noted.
Thus, in the 125th anniversary of the Evangelization of Iringa Catholic Diocese has been an opportunity for the religious and political leaders to stress the responsibility they have to teach morals in society and do it with more strength and knowledge without tiring. At the same time, they have urged parents and guardians to continue teaching young people and children morals while reprimanding parents who neglect their responsibility of raising children.