“Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.”
Mass Stipends for Priests in Tanzania
Catholics are small minority in the Diocese of Tunduru-Masasi which lies in the far south Tanzania, on the border with Mozambique. While close to 85% of the inhabitants in this area are Muslims, only 11% – a little over 100,000 people – are Catholic Christians. These faithful are widely scattered, living in many different villages in the 19 parishes of the vast diocese.
The 34 priests and the bishop of the diocese work tirelessly to bring the sacraments to the faithful and care for them pastorally. The long distances and bad roads make their work much harder, but in no way lessen their apostolic zeal. All their work of service is done for sheer love of God, since they receive no regular salary of any kind. Instead, they rely upon the gifts of the Catholic faithful, who strive with all their hearts to support their priests, but are themselves very poor.
This year the coronavirus pandemic has caused greater poverty, and, out of fear of infection, few of the faithful come to church. As a result, the collections the priests rely on are smaller than ever. Normally, the people were at least able to support their priests with the food they had grown, but as if the virus were not bad enough, this year’s harvest has been very poor, owing to very heavy rainfalls.
Out of concern for his priests, Bishop Filbert Felician Mhasi has turned in trust to ACN, knowing that every year we pass on over a million Mass offerings to needy priests all over the world. Last year we were able to help 40,096 priests, who in return celebrated a total of 1,378,635 Holy Masses for the intentions of our benefactors. Some 38% of these Masses were celebrated in Africa.
The financial contribution made to the priest is a gesture of gratitude and support on the part of the individual Catholic for whose intentions he celebrates a particular Mass. It is in no sense a ‘payment,’ since the sacraments are sacred and cannot be paid for. Instead, it signifies a gesture of love that has a long tradition within the Church.
In addition to this symbolic character, the financial offering made by the faithful represents a vital means of support for priests in many parts of the world – and not just for them personally, but for all the needs of their parishes.
We want to help Bishop Mhasi in the same way, and so we have promised Mass offerings for him and his 34 priests for a total value of $21,700 – or $620 per priest for an entire year. In return these priests will celebrate these Holy Masses for the intentions of the benefactors who have requested them.
Will you join in supporting these poor priests as they face exceptional challenges in Tanzania?
Aid to the Church in Need commits to invest your funds where they will have the greatest impact for the Church that we serve. Funds donated to Aid to the Church in Need’s projects will be used towards the greatest need in our programs to help keep the Faith alive.