Letter from Tanzania

September 08, 2016
Rutete, Bukoba Catholic Diocese, Tanzania

Dear Father General,

Habari? Greetings from Tanzania!

We would like to give you some news from here in Tanzania since you left on the 24th of July. In our first month here, some of the diocesan clergy who were not able to attend the inauguration on the 17th of July were coming to visit us and to personaly welcome us in the Bukoba Diocese. We experienced the warm welcome from every priest that we met here as well as from the religious (women) in the diocese.

The parish is composed of 43 Small Christian Communities from the 15 villages entrusted to our care. For now we already visited some of the villages and celebrated Mass there but we are not yet reaching half of them. We have 3 sub-stations, including the parish center.

Here are some of the highlights of our stay here:

1. Since the 31st of July, Holy Eucharist are being celebrated every Sunday in the said sub-stations with the help of our parish catechists. During weekdays, the Holy Eucharist is being celebrated in the parish center at 7:00 in the morning. It was wonderful that during weekdays an average of 40-50 Christians are attending the celebration of the Holy Eucharist including children who are attending the Mass before going to school for their class. But during Sunday, the church is always full that the children (around 300 children) need to occupy the space of the sanctuary and some are standing outside. Every Friday afternoon, we celebrate Mass in the parish center for the students of primary and secondary school.

2. We started our informal class in Swahili last August 02 with a teacher from the neigbhoring village but some problems were encountered along the way. Now, we have a new intructor, a retired teacher who is also a volunteer of the parish. At present, we can slowly talk in simple Swahili and understand some of the conversations but we are still far on the way. We really need to learn the language because only few people here can speak and understand English.

3. August 06: We, including some of the parishioners, attended the annual visit of WAWATA (Wanawake Wakatoliki Tanzania- Catholic Women of Tanzania) of the Bukoba Diocese in Rutabo- St. John Bosco Preparatory Seminary. All the parishes of the diocese are bringing goods for the seminary as part of their support in the formation. It was also intended to raise funds for the seminary. The occasion was well attended by the 2 bishops, the clergy, civic leaders and the WAWATA.

Currently, we have 3 seminarians from the parish studying in the said level of formation.

4. August 07: The election for the new leaders of the Parish was conducted. We already have the Parish Pastoral Council and officers of different sub-stations and organizations. All the leaders were already sworn into office.

5. August 10: We attended the first meeting of the Deanery in Kishogo Parish (nearby Rutete).

6. As of the 13th of August, we alternate in presiding the Mass and proclaiming the Gospel everyday, including Sunday. The reflection is being given either by Fr. Erick or by one of the catechists. Hopefully, we can start delivering even a short reflection before the end of the month.

7. Last August 15, we had a simple celebration for the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Ina ng Pag-asa (Philippines) Province Day, and the independence day of India.

8. We also started other pastoral works such as: home visitation and blessing of their houses, communion of the sick and elderly, and Annointing of the Sick.

9. August 19: We had our first monthly community recollection facilitated by Fr. Manuel dela Cruz, MS.

10. We asked Fr. Deodatus Katunzi and Fr. Erick Muganyizi to help us in translating La Salette prayers and Mass. We already had the Kiswahili translation of the Solemnity Mass of Our Lady of La Salette, the Memorare and the Invocation. The Bishop already approved the translation for its official use. The translation of La Salette story is still in the process.

11. August 25: We were informed that Fr. Erick was re-assigned by the Bishop to the seminary. Fr. Reginald Kashakuro is our new companion here, replacing Fr. Erick. We, with the Christians, had a simple send-off ceremony for him.

12. We already conducted the meeting with the Pastoral Council regarding the preparation for the Feast Day celebration on September 19. Next meeting was set on September 12 to finalize all that we had agreed upon. We sent invitation to all the clergy and religious of the diocese for the Feast Day although we do not expect that all can come because some parishes and religious houses are far from the parish. His Excellency Desiderius Rwoma is not yet confirming his availability for the celebration.

13. The vehicle that the Generalate purchased for the use of our local community had arrived last September 04, Sunday. Now, we have a better mobility for pastoral and community necessities.

On the lighter side: from the Christians of the parish, at present, we have 1 dog, 1 cattle, 3 pigs, 11 goats, 30 chickens, 2 ducks and 9 rabbits. Fr. Erick hired a boy to take care of the animals. He also hired 2 girls to take care of the house and of the cooking plus a guard at night and a parish office secretary.

We thank you for the support that the General Council is giving us and also of the whole congregation in any manner. Please continue to include us, our mission here in Tanzania and the people of this community in your prayers.

In Christ and Mary,

Fr. Aldrin H. Cenizal, MS

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