A House for Claretian Missionaries in Tanzania
Project Code: 154-01-19
"Your support will undoubtedly encourage the brothers to continue their missionary activities.” These were the words of Cardinal Pengo, the Archbishop of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, who wrote to ACN in the hopes of making life and work a little easier for the Claretian missionaries in his area.
The Congregation of the Claretian Fathers and Brothers was founded in 1849 by Saint Anthony Maria Claret. Today its members include 19 bishops, over 2,000 priests and 3,000 brothers in 63 different countries around the world. And since 2003, the Claretians have also been active in the Archdiocese of Dar es Salaam, so that by now they have a presence in eight different centers.
These missionaries work in the schools, training and educating children; they provide basic medical support and work on behalf of the disadvantaged, especially those of the ethnic minorities. They support lone mothers and encourage people to set up self-help groups. They seek to "see the world through the eyes of the poor," and strive to alleviate the needs of body and soul.
One place where they work is the Parish of Our Lady in Kimara, some 180 miles from the capital. Here they run an extremely active parish with almost 11,000 Catholics. The Catholic faithful love their parish, and they love to participate in the Eucharist and pray and meet together. Their numbers are growing steadily, and every day there is a Holy Mass in Kimara, while in the two outstations there are three Masses a week.
The Claretians have become indispensable through their work of social and economic development, as well as for the salvation of souls. But until now they have been living in temporary accommodations, which do not even have running water.
Cardinal Pengo would like to help these Claretian missionaries by building a house for their community, and he has turned to ACN, writing, “The lack of a proper house in an area where diseases like malaria are widespread can frequently lead to the missionaries falling ill and being unable to carry out their demanding and extensive work as regularly as planned. The lack of suitable premises and clean drinking water leaves them living in unhealthy conditions. The catechetical sessions and courses have to be held inside the church itself. Nor do they have any possibility of accommodating even a single visitor. On top of this, their present accommodation does not offer the least degree of security, and this is a region where robberies and break-ins are on the increase. All this makes their life hard and very burdensome."
Many of the local people are poor peasant farmers who live by selling what they produce. Mostly, the money is barely enough to live on, yet they are willing to give a part of this modest income towards the cost of the house, because they want to give the brothers something back in return.
The young people of the parish will themselves help with the building work. They greatly appreciate the work the brothers do. Many of them have grown up with only one parent, and even the children often have to work to support their families. Some of them live on the streets, and there are many problems. For the girls, fertility is highly valued, and many of them have children very young, even without being married. Another problem is the traditional dowry system. Since many families simply cannot afford the dowry they are expected to pay for their daughter's wedding, many young couples simply live together unmarried. Traditional family structures are collapsing and early sexual activity, teen pregnancies, abortions and crime are commonplace.
The work the Claretians are doing is a great blessing for the local people. This house will enable them to devote all their time and energy to those in need around them. ACN is planning to help with a contribution of $8,200 towards its construction. Will you join in supporting these Claretian missionaries so they can build a house in Tanzania?
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