A house for the Claretian missionaries in Kimara
Adapted by AB Griffin, ACN Canada
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. Since 2003 the Claretians have also been active in the Archdiocese of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. In fact, they now have a presence in eight different centres. They 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 single 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 suffering of both body and soul. One of the communities they serve is the parish of Our Lady in Kimara, approximately 290 km from the capital, where they run an extremely active parish composed of almost 11,000 Catholics.
Until now, the Claretians have been living in temporary accommodations which do not even include running water. By building a house for their community, Cardinal Pengo, the Archbishop of Dar es Salaam, hopes to make the life and work of these Claretian missionaries a little easier.
Cardinal Pengo has turned to ACN for help with this project and writes, “Your support will undoubtedly encourage the brothers to continue their missionary activities. 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 regularly planned work. 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 accommodations do 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.”
Problems facing the faithful
The Catholic faithful love their parish, and they love to participate in the Eucharist and pray and meet together. Their numbers are growing steadily. Every day there is a Holy Mass in Kimara, and three Masses a week in outlying stations.
Though many of the local people are poor peasant farmers who make their livelihood by selling what they produce, and the money is barely enough to live on, they are still willing to give a part of this modest income towards the cost of the home, as a way of giving back to the Brothers in return – because the Claretians have become indispensable through their work of social and economic development – and of salvation.
The young people of the parish intend to help with the construction and greatly appreciate the work the Brothers do. Many have grown-up with only one parent, and often children have had to work to support their families.
Some live on the streets, and there are many problems that come with it. In the case of girls, fertility is highly valued, and many of them have children very young without ever having been married. Another problem is the traditional dowry system. Because many families simply cannot afford the dowry and are expected to pay for their daughter’s wedding, many young couples simply live together unmarried. Traditional family structures are collapsing and early sexual contact, teen pregnancies, abortion and crime are very much commonplace.
What the Claretians bring is a great blessing for the local people, and once they have a house it will enable them to devote all their time and energy to those in need of them.
ACN is planning to contribute $21,000 towards this construction project.