APOSTOLIC JOURNEY TO TANZANIA, BURUNDI,
RWANDA, AND THE IVORY COAST
ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS JOHN PAUL II
TO THE FAITHFUL OF TANZANIA
Cathedral of Saint Joseph, Dar-es-Salaam
Saturday, 1 September 1990
Mwadhama Kardinali Laurean Rugambwa,
(Your Eminence Cardinal Laurean Rugambwa),
Mhashamu Askofu Mkuu Polycarp Pengo,
(Your Grace Archbishop Polycarp Pengo),
Ndugu zangu wapendwa katika Kristu,
(Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ),
Amani ya Bwana iwe nanyi
(May the peace of the Lord be with you)
1. I have eagerly awaited this opportunity to visit Tanzania, to meet its Catholic people and all people of good will in a spirit of brotherhood and peace. I have come as a witness to Christ, to confirm you in the Gospel of salvation which you received and in which you stand. Now that I have reached Dar-es-Salaam, the "haven of peace", my thoughts turn to Christ’s words to the Apostles on the eve of His Passion: "Peace I bequeath to you, my own peace I give you, a peace the world cannot give, this is my gift to you" (Io. 14, 27). At the beginning of my Pastoral Visit, my fervent prayer is that each of you may experience in the depths of your hearts - and within your families, parishes, and communities - Christ’s gift of peace.
I wish to begin by thanking Cardinal Laurean Rugambwa for his kind words of welcome. For almost half a century he has given himself generously to the work of the Church as a priest, a Bishop, and as Cardinal here in his native land. I join His Grace, Coadjutor Archbishop Polycarp Pengo, and all of you, in asking God to grant His Eminence many more happy years in the Lord’s service.
The Cardinal has just spoken of the urgent need to proclaim the "Good News" of Jesus Christ in Tanzania, in the midst of social problems and an erosion of spiritual and moral values, especially as these influence the family. Dear brothers and sisters, only Christ can heal the wounds of evil and sin; only Christ can fill the emptiness and frustration that trouble so many hearts, because only Christ can reconcile sinful man to God and to others through the Cross and Resurrection. God’s gift of reconciliation in Christ is the source of that peace for which we yearn, which "the world cannot give" (Ibid).
2. More than a century ago, the missionaries brought Christ’s gift of reconciliation and peace to the people of this land. Beginning in 1887 the Benedictine Congregation of Saint Ottilien in Germany was entrusted with what was to become the Vicariate Apostolic, and later Archdiocese of Dar-es-Salaam. The relics of Bishop Cassian Spiess and those who were killed with him in the early years of this century - entombed in this Cathedral - serve to confirm that Christ’s gift of peace is not of this world, but is the fruit of union with Him in the mystery of His Death and Resurrection.
You who are the spiritual sons and daughters of the missionaries have experienced the joy of seeing a vibrant, young Church arise from their sacrifices. It is a Church that bears witness to the "Good News" of salvation amid the joys and accomplishments of the Tanzanian people, as well as their sorrows and trials, their difficulties and doubts. As members of a pilgrim Church, you press ahead in the conviction that "faith throws a new light on all things and makes known the full ideal which God has set for man" (Gaudium et Spes, 11). Although this ideal is fully realized only in eternity, it nevertheless inspires you to meet human problems and challenges here and now as disciples of Christ should: in the striking image of Saint Paul, "with truth buckled round your waist, and integrity for a breastplate, wearing for shoes on your feet the eagerness to spread the gospel of peace, and always carrying the shield of faith" (Eph. 6, 14-16).
Yes, dear brothers and sisters, you are witnesses in Tanzania to the "gospel of peace". You are called to live it every day in the intimacy of family life, in your local communities, at your occupation, and above all within the Church, which is "a sign and instrument of communion with God and of the unity of the whole human race" (Lumen Gentium, 1). Communion with God, unity among men: this is the peace of the kingdom to come, which even now is fore-shadowed in your Christian living.
3. This evening we gather in a cathedral that recalls the deep love of the Benedictine missionaries for Christ and for the people of this land, even to the shedding of their blood. They dedicated this Church to Saint Joseph, the Spouse of the Virgin Mary, confident of his patronage on behalf of their missionary efforts. This patronage should be invoked always as an impetus for a renewed commitment to evangelization on the part of the Church. May Saint Joseph be for all of you an exceptional teacher in the service of this saving mission, a mission which is the responsibility of each and every member of Christ’s Body (Cfr. Ioannis Pauli PP. II Redemptoris Custos, 29. 32).
I pray that Joseph, the "just man" (Matth. 1, 19), will intercede for you - Bishops, priests, religious and laity of the Church in Tanzania - so that "the peace of Christ may reign in your hearts" (Cfr. Col. 3, 15), and that now and always your beloved City of Dar-es-Salaam may truly be a "haven of peace".
Mungu awabariki na kuwalinda. Amina.
(May God bless and protect you. Amen).
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