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Hundreds of Priests celebrate 100 years Jubilee of priesthood in Dodoma

Sarah Pelaji

Hundreds of Priests from all the Catholic Dicoese in the country flocked in Dodoma on 15th, August, 2017 to celebrate the closing of 100 years Jubilee celebrations of priesthood, counting from the ordination of the first four native Tanzania Priests on 15th, August, 1917.

These were Rev. Fr. Celestine kipanda from Bunda Diocese, Rev. Fr. Angelo Mwirabure from Geita Diocese, Rev. Fr.  Oscar kyakaraba from Bukoba Diocese and Rev. Fr. Willlbard MUPAPI from Kashozi Bukoba Diocese.

The celebration was graced by the Vatican delegate, Most Rev Protace Rugambwa, the President of the Pontifical Mission Society (PMS) who was the main celebrant, the Apostolic Nuncio to Tanzania, Most Rev Marek Solczyński, Tanzania Bishops and four Bishops from Burundi and Rwanda.

The participation of Bishops from Burundi and Rwanda was precisely because of sharing the same history with the Catholic Church in Tanzania. Two native priests (one from Burundi and another from Rwanda) were ordained in the same year like the Tanzanians, by then being under the same Vicariate of South Nyanza. These include Rev. Fr. Donatus reberaho from Issavi Rwanda and Rev. Fr. Balthazar kafuko from Nsasa Burundi who were ordained in Octobr, 1917

In his Homily, the Auxiliary Bishop of Bukoba Diocese Rev. Methodius Kilaini commended the effort made by missionaries specifically the effort of Bishop Joseph Hirth of South Nyanza Vicariate by then who wanted native Africans to also become Priests despite some opposition from his fellow missionaries.

“Bishop Hirth never gave up, he continued doing what he had planned. He was happy to see his dream come true on 15th, August, 1917 when four Tanzanian (African) were ordained priests. Later on 7th, October, 1917 he ordained one from Rwanda and another one from Burundi,” said Bishop Kilaini.

Bishop Kilaini urged priests to remain steadfast in their vocation. “In whatever circumstance do not revoke your priesthood,” he said.

He said that from 1917 where Tanzania got first four priests, currently there are 3316 priests among them 2926 are Diocesan priests and 390 being religious priests in the country.