Holy Ghost Fathers, who were under the leadership of Fr. Antoine Horner, arrived in Zanzibar in 1863. They received great opposition from Muslims and then crossed the sea to the mainland of Bagamoyo in 1868. Here they set up free villages of slaves.
In these villages they received and taught slaves freed from Arab traders and English ships to abolish the Slave trade. From Bagamoyo, with the help of catechists taught in the villages of free bonds, the missionaries traveled to the eastern part of Mount Kilimanjaro in Moshi.
The exiled slaves were the first catechists. These helped evangelize Zanzibar Provinces, Morogoro, Moshi, Tanga, Same, Kondoa, Arusha, Dodoma and parts Mbulu among others.
It was difficult for Bagamoyo people to accept the Gospel so the decision of Dutch-speaking missionaries was to move to Morogoro city. Bagamoyo was left for a long time without priesthood services (pastoral service) or Eucharistic celebrations.
This led to poor growth of Bagamoyo Church until 1992 when the first African Priest entered and settled in Bagamoyo permanently. The first African priest was Father Valentine Bayo of the Holy Spirit Missionaries. Since he settled in Bagamoyo, he has been able to give Bagamoyo status today. Some call him Bayo “Father of New Bagamoyo Evangelism.”
He developed Bagamoyo from one parish to three parishes, namely Holy Spirit, Epiphany and Christ the King. He also made it an area of humanitarian liberation, education, health and other social services.
To date, there are Marian schools (Marian boys/girls) one of the leading schools in Tanzania. Most of the people in Bagamoyo have gone through Marian technical schools to acquire technical and employment professionals in various fields including carpentry, sewing, masonry, crafts, paintings, catering, and hotel services.
Education has become the main way of introducing new Bagamoyo, since today there is Marian Bagamoyo’s University of Science in Science Education.