Thousands of faithful including President John Magufuli thronged Bongololo Grounds in Bagamoyo District on October 5, to celebrate 150 years of evangelization.
Bagamoyo is significant in the history of Catholicism in Tanzania since it was the first place where the Holy Ghost missionaries landed.
John Cardinal Njue, Archbishop of the archdiocese of Nairobi, who represented Pope Francis’s at the event, in his homily called upon various sectors of the Tanzanian society to honour their responsibilities, and to uphold peace in the country.
“This is the time to question ourselves; whether the seeds of peace preached by the first missionaries in the early days of the Church have borne fruit and been protected,” Cardinal Njue said.
Archbishop Josaphat Louis Lebulu, emeritus of Arusha, in his speech noted that “…the next phase of the Church in Tanzania should be dedicated to investing in sustainable pastoral strategies that would more profoundly deepen the faith of Christians,” reported Vatican News.
“We celebrate the great work done by missionaries who came to Tanzania at Bagamoyo in 1868. They installed the Holy Cross (at Bagamoyo), a Symbol of redemption from slavery, a symbol of faith to us,” said Archbishop Lebulu.
The Archbishop added that it is the arrival of the missionaries that transformed Bagamayo from a place of pain and torture where many African slaves were sold and exported to a place of redemption.