Speeches 1990 - Chapel of the Apostolic Nunciature, Dar-es-Salaam


APOSTOLIC JOURNEY TO TANZANIA, BURUNDI,

RWANDA, AND THE IVORY COAST

ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS JOHN PAUL II

TO THE LEADERS OF OTHER CONFESSIONS AND RELIGIONS

Msimbazi Centre, Dar-es-Salaam

Sunday, 2 September 1990

Ndugu zangu viongozi wa dini,

(Distinguished Religious Representatives),
Ndugu nyote mliopo hapa,
(Dear Brethren),

1. I wish to extend a very cordial greeting to all of you and to thank you for your presence here today. My Pastoral Visit would be incomplete if I failed to take the opportunity to meet the representatives of the various religious bodies of Tanzania. Indeed, for me this is not only a happy occasion, but also a duty laid upon me as the Catholic Churchís Universal Pastor. It is a duty because the Church is committed to pursuing a dialogue of truth and love with all of humanity, and in a special way with other Christians and with the followers of other religions.

In 1964, during the Second Vatican Council, in his first Encyclical Letter "Ecclesiam Suam", my predecessor Pope Paul VI described the path of dialogue which the Church was to follow. That same Ecumenical Council developed this programme in its teaching and gave rise to structures adapted to the pursuit of this goal. The Catholic Church feels herself duty-bound to enter into dialogue with other Christians in obedience to Christís will that "all may be one" (Jn 17,21), and with other religions as part of her mission to further the "dialogue of salvation" (Cfr. Pauli VI Ecclesiam Suam), initiated by God and brought to fulfilment in the Death and Resurrection of His Son.

2. It is important to know what we mean when we say that we intend to follow the path of dialogue. In general, dialogue means reciprocal communication, mutual friendship and respect, as well as joint effort for the sake of shared goals, all in the service of a common search for truth. In the context of religious pluralism, "dialogue is a complex of human activities, all founded upon respect and esteem for people of different religions. It includes the daily living together in peace and mutual help, with each bearing witness to the values learned through the experience of faith. It means a readiness to cooperate with others for the betterment of humanity, and a commitment to search together for true peace. It means the encounter of theologians and other religious specialists to explore, with their counterparts from other religions, areas of convergence and divergence. Where circumstances permit, it means a sharing of spiritual experiences and insights" (Ioannis Pauli PP. II Allocutio iis qui coetui Secretariatus pro non christianis interfuerunt, 4, die 28 apr. 1987: Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, X, 1 [1987] 1451).

As regards the goals of interreligious dialogue, improved mutual understanding can lead to new attitudes of respect and the promotion of common ideals in the sphere of religious freedom, human brotherhood and social progress (Cfr. Pauli VI Ecclesiam Suam). This in itself would be no small achievement in a world that rightly looks to religion as an agent of harmony and peace, and is scandalized when religion is used to justify or promote division and hatred, or even violence.

3. To all my Christian brothers and sisters who are here today, I wish to say that there can be no going back from the task of attaining the fullness of unity which Jesus Christ desires for His disciples. Under the inspiring grace of the Holy Spirit, the progress of ecumenism constitutes an important "sign of the times" (Unitatis Redintegratio UR 4), calling all Christians to prayerful reflection and to further efforts towards greater agreement and cooperation. It is my fervent prayer that, in the words of the Second Vatican Council, one day "all Christians will be gathered into that unity of the one and only Church, which Christ bestowed on His Church from the beginning" (Ibid).

Although after centuries there are still serious obstacles to overcome, let us together give thanks to God that in Tanzania a healthy ecumenical spirit is making headway and that there already exist many instances of ecumenical cooperation. Before you lies an immense field of collaboration in the defence of the dignity and rights of the human person, the application of Gospel principles to social life, and the relief of afflictions such as hunger, disease, illiteracy and the terrible burden of poverty (Cfr. ibid. 12).

But there is also another dimension to Christian ecumenism. The dialogue of Christian unity is also at the service of the wider "dialogue of salvation" with people of every religion. Faith in Jesus Christ, "the Way, the Truth and the Life" (Jn 14,6), "the only name by which we can be saved" (Act. 4, 12), compels us to proclaim Him before the world. How much more credible and effective would our common witness to the Saviour be if it were a fully united witness! Even now, however, that witness is strengthened by every effort on our part to walk the path of greater harmony and love. I know that the Catholic Church in Tanzania is committed to this path along with you, and I am confident that in the inscrutable providence of God your ecumenical efforts will be fruitful "so that the world may believe" (Jn 17,21).

4. I extend warm greetings and good wishes to the members of other religions, Hindus, Buddhists and especially to the followers of Islam. I pray that this encounter will serve to strengthen the good relations which exist in Tanzania between the religious groups represented here. May our faith in One God be the very source of our love and esteem for each other!

It must be acknowledged that dialogue between Christians and Muslims is increasingly important in todayís world. It is also a very delicate question, since both religions are deeply committed to the spread of their respective faiths. But, objectively speaking, there is a firm foundation on which mutual respect and cooperation can be built. It is the recognition that every person has an inalienable right and a solemn duty to follow his or her upright conscience in seeking and obeying the truth. The Lord of heaven and earth cannot be pleased with a religious observance that is somehow imposed from without. What would then become of the wonderful gifts of reason and free will which make individuals privileged to bear personal responsibility and which constitute the worth and glory of the Creatorís beloved sons and daughters (Cfr. Dignitatis Humanae )?

Dialogue, as I described it a moment ago, does not attempt to produce an artificial consensus with regard to our faith convictions, but rather helps to ensure that in our zeal to proclaim our beliefs, and in the methods used, we respect every personís right to religious freedom. By cultivating positive and constructive relations between our communities and their individual members, we can arrive at a mutual understanding and respect which guarantees the exercise of this fundamental human right and opens the way to building a society in which all can contribute to the common good.

Christians and Muslims can live in harmony and show their solidarity with one another in all the joys, sorrows and challenges that mark the life of a local community. As experience in many parts of the world shows, religious differences of themselves do not necessarily disrupt life together. Indeed, Christians and Muslims in Tanzania can be partners in building a society shaped by the values taught by God: tolerance, justice, peace, and concern for the poorest and weakest. May both religions work closely to ensure that these values and the right to religious freedom be enshrined in civil law, thus safeguarding a true equality among all Tanzaniaís citizens.

5. To all who are present here today, I express the heartfelt wish, accompanied by an ardent prayer, that the future of Tanzania and of all Africa may be shaped by faith in God, not unbelief. Many in the modern world choose to ignore, to the peril of humanity, the power of religious faith to determine history and culture. May we, dear friends, who know otherwise, always seek peace not conflict, mutual respect and understanding not polemics, as we strive to bear witness to the transcendent mystery that conscience tells us is the only answer to the deepest longings of the human heart.

Mungu awabariki nyote.
(May God bless you all).



APOSTOLIC JOURNEY TO TANZANIA, BURUNDI,

RWANDA, AND THE IVORY COAST

ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS JOHN PAUL II

TO PRIESTS AND RELIGIOUS OF TANZANIA

St Peter's Church, Dar-es-Salaam

Sunday, 2 September 1990

Askofu Mkuu Polycarp Pengo,

(Dear Archbishop Polycarp Pengo),
Ndugu zangu Mapadre na Watawa,
(Dear Priests and Religious),
Tumsifu Yesu Kristu!
(Praised be Jesus Christ)!

1. Mimi niliye Halifa wa Mtume Petro, ambaye Bwana alimkabidhi wajibu wa kuwaimarisha ndugu zake katika Imani, ninapenda kumshukuru Baba Yetu wa Mbinguni kwa ajili ya fursa hii ya kuwa nanyi Mapadre na Watawa mliomo nchini Tanzania. Ninawashukuru nyote mlioomba ili-kwa kunukuru maneno ya Mtakatifu Pauloó "nipate kufika kwenu kwa furaha, kama apendavyo Mungu, nikapate kupumzika pamoja nanyi". Ninapenda kumsalimu kila mmoja wenu na kuwahakikishia nyote kuwa nipo daima pamoja nanyi katika sala zangu nikiwaombea ili maisha na huduma mnazozitoa zifanikiwe.

(As the Successor of Peter, the Apostle to whom the Lord entrusted the task of strengthening his brethren in faith (Cfr. Luc. Lc 22,32), I give thanks to our heavenly Father for this meeting with you, the priests and religious of Tanzania. I am grateful to all who prayed so that - in the words of Saint Paul - "by Godís will I might come to you with joy and be refreshed in your company" (Rm 15,32). My great desire is to greet each one of you personally and to assure you of my prayerful closeness to your life and ministry).

We are joined together by no less a bond than the divine love which the Holy Spirit has poured into our hearts (Cfr. ibid. 5, 5), a love which has taken form in the singular and specific vocation given to each one of us in the Body of Christ. Even when we are geographically separated and far from each other, we are nevertheless intimately united in Christ Jesus. In the communion that is the Church I wish to encourage you - as well as all of Tanzaniaís priests and religious - in your clear witness to the Gospel and your devoted service to the People of God. Through your fidelity the ecclesial community in Tanzania is being built up in unity, holiness and truth.

I thank Archbishop Pengo for his words of welcome, and Father Itatiro, whose description of the expansion of the Church in this land invites us to praise God who is the Author of this growth (Cfr. 1Co 3,6-7). The Catholic community in Tanzania owes much to the sacrifices and often heroic labours of the Holy Spirit Missionaries, the White Fathers, the Benedictines of Saint Ottilien and many other missionaries from various countries who first preached the Gospel in this region, and I greet the members of these Congregations who are present. Through Godís grace, the apostolate begun by those pioneers is being continued by their successors and by increasing numbers of indigenous priests and religious Sisters and Brothers. By working closely together in that spirit of mutual acceptance and cooperation of which Archbishop Pengo spoke, you show that the Church in Tanzania is both truly Catholic and truly African. Indeed, if you are to be genuine witnesses of Christ to the world, it must be apparent to all that "you stand firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the Gospel" (Ph 1,27). 2. The rapid growth of the Church in Tanzania is a pressing invitation to consider the most effective ways of building upon the foundation which you have inherited. The continuing evangelization of Africa is, as you know, a priority for the Church and has been chosen as the theme of the forthcoming Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops. Evangelization belongs to the essence of the Churchís life. Thus, pastoral action can never be a matter of simply maintaining what has already been achieved. The word of God cannot be fettered (Cfr. 2Tm 2,9). In this perspective, my message to you today takes the form of an ardent appeal: Muwe na imani katika wito mlioupokea kutoka kwa Bwana; na mwendelee kujitoa zaidi kwa ajili ya utume anaowakabidhi. (Be confident in the vocation you have received from the Lord; and be ever more committed to the mission which he entrusts to you)! Dear brothers and sisters: your vocation in the Church is a unique and precious treasure. As priests you have been configured to Jesus the High Priest in the Sacrament of Holy Orders; as religious you are committed to living and bearing witness to the "new life" of Christís kingdom through the observance of the evangelical counsels. In every case your life and work within the ecclesial community take their meaning and significance from your relationship with the Saviour. You have not chosen Him; rather, He has chosen you to go forth and bear fruit (Cfr. Io. Jn 15,16). If you love Him and serve Him faithfully, it is because He has loved you first (Cfr. 1 Io. 4, 9). Your only boast should be the mercy He has shown you and the grace He has given you (Cfr. 1Co 4,7). He Himself, therefore, is the infinite source of your security and of the hope which sustains you in every challenge and circumstance (Cfr. 2Tm 1,12).

In fact, because of the special nature of your relationship with Christ, your every effort must be to reflect His love and zeal in your work and prayer. He is the "anointed" of the Father, the one "sent" by the Father, the first "apostle" (Cfr. Luc. Lc 4,18). His example is one of total dedication to the realization of the Fatherís plan of salvation: "I have come... not to do My own will, but to do the will of the one who sent Me" (Jn 6,38). You too must be moved by a similar passion for the Fatherís will, which you will then translate into an unfailing quest for holiness of life and a vivid sense of mission.

3. Your search for spiritual growth and for an increasing identification with the Churchís mission necessarily passes through certain fundamental virtues and "signs". Your commitment to celibacy and chastity for the sake of the kingdom offers a powerful witness of undivided love for Christ and a readiness to serve Him in others without distinction of persons. By your availability to all, you will "assure that no one will feel a stranger in the Christian community" (Presbyterorum Ordinis PO 9). The virtue of poverty, which religious practice by reason of a specific vow, is of great relevance to the life of all priests, for you are ambassadors of the Lord who lived poorly and had a love of preference for the poor. Your personalities will be immensely enriched through the interior liberation that comes from a detachment from material things and from a renunciation of the "power" that comes from their possession.

Obedience rooted in the desire to imitate Christ, the obedient Son of the Father, is also a vital aspect of your condition as priests or as religious. Indeed, "obedience is the hallmark of the servant of Christ, who redeemed the human race by His obedience" (Ad Gentes AGD 24). It is also a sign of humility and docility to Godís will as it is manifested especially through those chosen to succeed the Apostles as "overseers, to care for the Church of God which He obtained with the blood of His own Son" (Act. 20, 28), and through those whom faith presents as Godís representatives (Cfr. Perfectae Caritatis PC 14). Since the priestly ministry and the apostolate in general may only be exercised in hierarchical communion, the good of the Church requires that all foster a sincere unity of mind and action with their bishops, with whom the priests constitute a single presbyterate in the service of each particular Church (Cfr. Lumen Gentium LG 28), and to whom all religious are subject in what has to do with the care of souls (Cfr. Christus Dominus CD 35).

4. Dear brother priests, you have been made co-workers of the bishops and have been given a share in their apostolic mission to preach the Gospel to the ends of the earth (Cfr. Presbyterorum Ordinis PO 2). Since it is the word of God which first draws the Church into unity (Ibid. 4), your dedication to preaching and teaching that word in its integrity constitutes a major part of your ministry. As servants of the word, it is essential that you yourselves first accept its purifying power into your hearts, so that you may then share its saving truth with others.

The good priest is the one who constantly renews his desire to bring all men and women to the knowledge of the mystery of Christís measureless love for sinful humanity. In the celebration of the Eucharist, in frequent reception of, and ready availability to minister the Sacrament of Penance, in times dedicated to private prayer and the celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours, and through the ministry in all its forms, you have the means to tend the fire of your zeal for the Fatherís house (Cfr. Luc. Lc 2,49). In all your activities may you feel the maternal company of Mary the Mother of the Redeemer. She will teach you to do all that her Son tells you (Cfr. Io. Jn 2,5).

5. My words this evening would be incomplete if I did not mention the special role which, from the beginning of Tanzaniaís evangelization, women religious have played in a host of apostolates. And what can I say about Tanzaniaís Religious Brothers, who have contributed in no small way to the spreading of Godís word through their labours in many fields, not least in teaching and communications?

Dear Brothers and Sisters: Even more important than these apostolates is the witness of your religious consecration. The paradox of the Cross, whereby dying with Christ leads to new life in Him (Cfr. Rom. Rm 6,3-4), should be fully apparent in your way of living. May you always incarnate with joy those words of the Second Vatican Council regarding your consecration "the more ardently that (religious) unite themselves to Christ through a self-surrender involving their entire lives, the more vigorous will become the life of the Church and the more abundantly will her apostolate bear fruit" (Perfectae Caritatis PC 1).

Allow me to say a word of special appreciation and gratitude to the members of contemplative communities, whose silent lives of prayer and penance are bearing rich fruit in the conversion of souls and bearing witness among Christians and non-Christians alike to the majesty and love of God, as well as to the brotherhood of all mankind in Christ. To your prayers and sacrifices in a special way I entrust the future of the Church in Tanzania and in Africa. This is an intention that is very close to my heart. Thank you for the oblation you make of yourselves. It ensures an outpouring of grace upon us all.

6. The great number of vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life in Tanzania bears eloquent witness to the growing maturity of your young Churches. It is heartening to know that the Church in Tanzania has begun to send forth her sons and daughters as missionaries to other countries. Having received so much from the dedicated missionary work of men and women of other nations, you are now beginning to give freely what you have so freely received (Cfr. Matth. Mt 10,8). Likewise, the spirit of cooperation and unity which exists between men and women of different racial and ethnic groups within your Institutes offers all Africa an example of the openness and universality which is so needed if certain negative aspects of tribalism are to be overcome.

In a few moments, I shall bless the foundation stone of the new Salvatorian Senior Seminary in Morogoro. I ask all of you to join me in praying that "the Lord of the harvest" (Lc 10,2), will continue to raise up among you many more vocations to the priesthood and the consecrated life, and will never cease to confirm you in your dedicated service to the Church, for the glory of God and the salvation of all mankind. May He who began a good work in you bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ (Cfr. Phil. Ph 1,6). Amen.

Asanteni sana.
(Thank you).

Na Mungu awabariki.
(God bless you).



APOSTOLIC JOURNEY TO TANZANIA, BURUNDI,

RWANDA, AND THE IVORY COAST

ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS JOHN PAUL II

TO THE SICK

Cathedral of Mwanza

Monday, 3 September 1990




Askofu Mkuu Anthony Mayala,
(Dear Archbishop Anthony Mayala),
Ndugu zangu Maaskofu,
(Dear Brother Bishops),
Ndugu wapendwa katika Kristu,
(Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ)

1. Leo safari yangu ya kichungaji nchini Tanzania, imenifikisha hapa Mwanza. Ninawasalimu kwa moyo wote ndugu zangu Maaskofu, hasa Askofu Mkuu Anthony Mayala, na nikiwatolea salamu hizo, ninamshukuru Mungu Baba, Mwana na Roho Mtakatifu kwa fursa hii ya kukutana nanyi. Pia ninawasalimu kwa upendo mkuu katika Bwana mapadre, watawa na walei wa Jimbo Kuu la Mwanza na wa majimbo ya Kanda hii. Ninaomba neema na amani ya Mungu Baba Yetu na ya Bwana wetu Yesu Kristu vimshukie kila mmoja wenu.

(Today my pilgrimage to the Church in Tanzania brings me to Mwanza! As I offer cordial greetings to Archbishop Anthony Mayala and my Brother Bishops, I express my deep gratitude to the Most Holy Trinity for the gift of this encounter. With great affection in the Lord I greet the clergy, religious and laity of the Archdiocese of Mwanza and its Suffragan Sees. Upon each of you I cordially invoke the grace and peace of God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ [Cfr. Phil. Ph 1,2 ]).

We are gathered in prayer in this Cathedral which is dedicated to the Lordís Epiphany. The star which guided the wise men from the East to visit the Child Jesus (Cfr. Matth. Mt 2,1 ss.), was a sign that God wishes to lead the people of every time and place to salvation through His Son. In Godís providence, the Gospel of Jesus Christ was destined to come to the area of Lake Victoria over a century ago, brought by a small but zealous band of White Fathers. This evening we join in thanking God that the seed which those early missionaries planted has grown and flourished. Aided by the apostolic labours of missionaries from many countries and of growing numbers of native priests and religious, and blessed with a generous and committed laity, you are witnessing the growth of the Church in the Archdiocese of Mwanza, and the Dioceses of Bukoba, Geita, Musoma, Rulenge and Shinyanga.

2. This evening, as I greet with particular affection our elderly and infirm brothers and sisters from the Bugando Medical Center, my thoughts turn to all those in Tanzania who are experiencing illness of mind or body.

Dear friends: In the Gospel which we have just heard, Saint Mark tells us that as Jesus passed by, people brought the sick before him on their stretchers so that they might touch him and be healed (Cfr. Marc. 6, 55-56). It is clear that Jesus had a particular love for the sick. How many times do we read in the Gospel that he was moved with pity at the sight of the sick and those who suffered (Cfr. Marc. 1, 41)! How many times did he reach out to touch them (Cfr. Matth. Mt 20,34)! How many times did he heal their illnesses and restore them to new hope by the forgiveness of their sins (Cfr. Marc. 2, 1-12)!

Jesus is still close to the sick! He is close of each of you in your sufferings. He is close to you when you are lonely and afraid and when you feel that no one understands your pain. And He is especially close to the dying and those afflicted by incurable illnesses. Jesus is with you because He too has experienced suffering. In the Garden of Gethsemane He knew fear and deep anxiety as He faced His supreme sacrifice (Cfr. Matth. Mt 26,38-39). His hands and side still bear the marks of His suffering and death (Cfr. Io. Jn 20,20).

The Son of God became man and dwelt among us so that by sharing fully in our lifeó becoming like us in all things but sin (Cfr. Hebr. 4, 15). ó He might redeem us from sin and its wages of death (Cfr. Rom. Rm 6,23). Jesus did not flee from the mystery of human suffering. Rather, He embraced suffering, and in His Passion, Death and Resurrection He opened to us the way of hope and everlasting glory. The paradox of the Cross is that Godís saving power has been made manifest in human suffering; Godís mighty strength has been revealed in human weakness; Godís glory has been revealed in the broken body of His only Son.

3. Through Baptism, you were united to Jesus in the mystery of His death and His rising to new life (Cfr. ibid. 6, 5), and you were sent forth into the world to bear witness to His victory over sin and death. At every moment of your lives, Jesus wishes you to deepen your union with Him in faith and love and to grow more and more in His likeness (Cfr. ibid. 8, 29). Now, in your sickness, He is asking you to reveal in your own bodies the victorious power of His grace and to proclaim to the world the "Gospel of suffering": the message that in Christís Passion all human suffering has been redeemed and can become a witness to the hope and joy of the Resurrection (Cfr. Ioannis Pauli PP. II Salvifici Doloris, 26).

Do not be afraid to let Jesus use your illness as a special grace to draw you nearer to Him in an ever deeper conversion of mind and heart. Through your weakness, He will help you grow in wisdom, spiritual insight and understanding! Above all, be confident that in union with Christ, your sufferings will bear rich spiritual fruit for the good of the Church and of the entire world! Our prayers, our sufferings and the good we accomplish affect the entire Mystical Body of Christ and can produce good in ways we may never know. This is the mystery which led Saint Paul to exclaim: "It makes me happy to suffer for you, as I am suffering now, and in my own body to do what I can to make up all that has still to be undergone by Christ for the sake of His body, the Church" (Col 1,24).

4. Dear Brothers and Sisters: The Church proclaims her faith in Jesus Christ not only in her preaching and sacraments but in the lives of her suffering members. In your faithful witness to the power of the Cross, you are living proof that "neither death nor life, no angel no prince, nothing that exists, nothing still to come, not any power, or height or depth, nor any created thing, can ever come between us and the love of God made visible in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rm 8,38-39)!

Godís great love is also reflected in the actions of those who imitate Christ the Good Samaritan by their service of their suffering brothers and sisters. May you always approach your delicate task with kindness, competence, and selfless dedication. The sick need your care and assistance; but they also need to know that you esteem and respect them. They need to know that their illness, no matter how grave, does not diminish them in your eyes, but rather makes them more precious and closer to your hearts. I wish to thank those of you who assist the sick at Bugando Hospital and elsewhere in Tanzania, and I invoke upon you the blessings which our Lord promised to the merciful (Cfr. Matth. Mt 5,7). I commend all present here in this Cathedral to the prayers and motherly care of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, who at the time of her greatest suffering was present at the foot of the Cross to comfort and console her dying Son. May she intercede for you and for all the beloved people of this Lake Region.

Ninatoa Baraka kwa kila mmoja wenu, nikiwaombea nguvu na amani katika Bwana wetu Yesu Kristu. Amina.

(To all of you I willingly impart my Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of strength and peace in the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen).



APOSTOLIC JOURNEY TO TANZANIA, BURUNDI,

RWANDA, AND THE IVORY COAST

ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS JOHN PAUL II

TO THE FAITHFUL OF TANZANIA

Cathedral of Christ the King, Moshi

Tuesday, 4 September 1990




Mhashamu Askofu Amedeus Msarikie,
(Dear Bishop Amedeus Msarikie),
Wahashamu Maaskofu,
(Dear Brother Bishops),
Ndugu wapendwa katika Kristu,
(Dear Friends in Christ),

1. It is with great joy and anticipation that I greet all of you - the clergy, religious and laity of Moshi - as I begin my visit to your diocese this evening. My cordial greetings also go to the Catholics from other dioceses, and to all people of good will who join us on this happy occasion.

The sentiments that fill my heart in this Cathedral are those of the Psalmist: "Kwa ajili ya ndugu zangu na rafiki zangu niseme sasa, 'Amani ikae nawe'. Kwa ajili ya nyumba ya Bwana, Mungu wetu, nikuombee mema".

("For love of my brethren and friends I say: 'Peace upon you!' For love of the house of the Lord I will ask for your good") (Ps 121,8-9).

The one who first wrote these verses was filled with love for the earthly Jerusalem and its holy Temple, but this evening our love is directed to the new Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God (Cfr. Apoc Ap 21,10), the "spiritual house" made of "living stones" (Cfr. 1Petr. 2, 5), the Church. In particular, our thoughts turn to that portion of the Church which is in this region of Tanzania.

2. As the Mother Church of the Diocese of Moshi, this Cathedral stands as a symbol of your spiritual membership in Godís family. The liturgies which are celebrated here and in the other Churches of the diocese are a share in "that heavenly liturgy which is celebrated in the holy city of Jerusalem towards which we journey as pilgrims" (Sacrosanctum Concilium SC 8). They remind us that our spiritual communion is not limited to this earth. The Saints in heaven, with Mary the Mother of the Redeemer, intercede for the life and mission of the Church on earth. In the words of the Letter to the Hebrews: "With so many witnesses in a great cloud on every side of us, we... should... keep running steadily in the race we have started, without losing sight of Jesus, who leads us in our faith and brings it to perfection" (Hebr. 12, 1-2).

The Liturgy is also a living sign and celebration of the visible unity which draws you together and joins you with Catholics everywhere, in and through the ministry of the Pope and of the bishops, the Successors of the Apostles, and of the priests, their collaborators. But by faith you also recognize in the sacred rites the unseen foundation of this external unity, namely, your communion with Christ the Head, who unites all his members in one Body. I pray that every time you join your bishop around this altar, the Holy Spirit will deepen your appreciation of ecclesial communion, so that the Church in Moshi will always preach the Gospel in unity, charity and peace.

3. Your Cathedral calls attention as well to another aspect of the Good News of the kingdom. It is named after Christ the King, to whose patronage the entire local Church of Moshi is dedicated. During His Passion Jesus told Pilate, "Mine is not a kingdom of this world" (Jn 18,36); and when questioned further, He said: "Yes, I am a king. I was born for this, I came into the world for this: to bear witness to the truth; and all who are on the side of truth listen to My voice" (Ibid. 18, 37). Christ teaches us that His kingdom - which is mysteriously present in the world, yet not of the world - is a kingdom of truth. For a century now, the truth about God and man - revealed in the "perfect man" Jesus Christ (Cfr. Gaudium et Spes GS 22) - has been at work among you: in peopleís hearts, minds and souls, in their daily lives and culture.

I invite all of you, dear Brothers and Sisters, to deepen the Christian faith which you have received. Allow the truth of the Gospel to continue to purify and transform your way of life and your customs, so that they will become ever more perfectly Christian and thus enable you to become more effective witnesses to Godís kingdom of unity and truth. Unity in the truth: this is an important sign of the Churchís credibility as the instrument of salvation for the human race. I rejoice with you that these divine gifts have taken root in Moshi and I join you in praying for an ever greater harvest of holiness and faith among all the people of this land.

4. I am happy that my visit offers the occasion for the dedication of the new Diocesan Pastoral Centre, which has been built for a more effective service of the ecclesial community in this region. When we consider the size and vitality of that community after a century of often arduous labour, we cannot but be filled with praise of God and gratitude to the missionaries who left family and country out of love for Christ and eagerness to bring His "message of eternal life" (Jn 6,68) to you, the beloved people of this land. Nor can we fail to thank God for the wholehearted acceptance which you and your forebears have given to the Good News of salvation in response to the abundant outpouring of divine grace which has taken place here.

The pilgrim Church that is in Tanzania is not and cannot be a community closed within itself. I am confident that in the true Catholic spirit, all the Churchís members will do their utmost to build up the national community, supporting the aspirations to peace and development of the entire Tanzanian people. I pray that God will assist you in the challenges you face. "For love of my brethren and friends I say 'Peace upon you!í For love of the house of the Lord I will ask for your good" (Ps 121,8-9). May Christ the King hear my prayer for you all!

Mungu awajalie neema na baraka zake. Amina.
(May God grant you his grace and peace. Amen).



Speeches 1990 - Chapel of the Apostolic Nunciature, Dar-es-Salaam