On Christ the King Sunday, November 22, 2015, a new parish in Buhemba, Tanzania, was formally opened as St. John Paul II Parish, under the pastoral care of the Resurrectionists. The new parish covers a territory of about 100 square kilometers and comprises six villages, with a pastoral center located in the municipality of Biatika.
The local diocesan Bishop, Michael Msonganzila of Musoma, came to Biatika on Friday to participate in a “Triduum” of inauguration. At a Mass on Friday he blessed two marriages, and on Saturday he gave the Sacrament of Confirmation to 92 candidates. The historic event mobilized the entire parish community: the preparations – cleaning, decorating, preparing meals and organizing artistic presentations – lasted practically from dawn until late at night. For the solemn inauguration of the parish Superior General Fr. Bernard Hylla, C.R., came from Rome in his role as the one directly responsible for the care of the Tanzanian Mission of the Congregation.
From early morning on Sunday music and singing could be heard, as choirs and various ministers made final preparations for the liturgy. At 10:00 AM the Eucharist began, with many priests and religious sisters, as well as representatives of other Christian churches in the area, accompanying the crowd of parishioners. After his homily, Bishop Michael embedded relics of the Ugandan martyrs in the altar and then anointed it. The following incensing of the altar was particularly suggestive. After Communion two decrees were read: the formal erection of the parish and the appointment of Fr. Maciej Braun, C.R., as its first pastor. Fr. Maciej made his Profession of Faith before the Bishop and received the keys of the church and the tabernacle, and then took his place at the presidential chair. At the end of the liturgy Bishop Msonganzila offered his congratulations, and Fr. General of the Resurrectionists greeted all the participants and thanked the Bishop for his cooperation and for the possibility of conducting the Congregation’s Novitiate formation at Biatika.
After the Mass there were performances by choirs and parish groups. The Resurrectionist novices also prepared a special program devoted to their choice of the path of a religious vocation, in the context of local customs and traditions; their presentation was followed with keen interest and at times peals of laughter. The celebration included, of course, a hearty meal, and the guests and hosts were offered commemorative gifts.
May Pope St. John Paul intercede with the Risen Lord to obtain the necessary graces for all the parishioners, and to bless the life and work of the Resurrectionist Mission in Tanzania.
Posted on Nov 2015,