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ACN Project of the Week—Tanzania

Success Story: A much-needed vehicle for the diocese of Ifakara

The diocese of Ifakara is still very young, having been established only recently in 2012. The Episcopal See is situated in the town of the same name, which lies roughly 400 km southwest of the capital Dar es Salaam. The diocese covers an area of 15,000 km² and has 21 parishes. Roughly 80% of its 400,000 or so inhabitants are Catholic. Most of the population is made up of peasant farmers, but there has also been some immigration of nomadic groups.

The distances to be travelled are considerable, and the roads very poor. In the rainy season roadways often deteriorate into muddy tracks, and in many cases along the way are large rain-filled ruts and potholes. Driving can be very dangerous without a suitable vehicle.

Bishop Salutaris Libena often has to travel long journeys to visit the parishes of his diocese and to administer the sacrament of Confirmation, for example, or simply making pastoral visits.

Vehicle for the Bishop: Bishop Salutaris Libena blessing the new car

The most distant parish is around 210 km from the centre of the diocese where there are also meetings and other events and in other neighbouring dioceses of this large country of around 950,000 km²—or example when the episcopal conference of the country has its meetings.

“We want to express our heartfelt thanks to you for this beautiful new vehicle. We promise you that we will treat it with respect, so that it can be used for many years to come in our pastoral service.”

Until recently, the bishop’s old and unequipped car posed a major problem, already second-hand when it was purchased 20 years ago and no longer able to cope with the difficult road conditions. Thanks to the generosity of our benefactors, we have been able to provide him with $43,036 for a suitable and sturdy all-terrain vehicle. It will serve him well, as well as many of his fellow priests and diocesan staff.

Bishop Libena writes: “We want to express our heartfelt thanks to you for this beautiful new vehicle. We promise you that we will treat it with respect, so that it can be used for many years to come in our pastoral service. And we also promise to pray for all those whose personal sacrifices have made it possible for us to obtain this vehicle.”

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