Archbishop Isaac Amani entering Loiborsiret grounds
When I was a little boy, I admired the Consolata Missionaries Fathers who worked in my parish, and I wanted one day to be like them. I especially was thrilled by their mastery of my mother tongue which they spoke with ease though with an italian accent. During those days, a missionary meant to me a white bearded man who drove a strong Land Rover that could never get stuck in mud. As little boys we used to enjoy pushing vehicles stuck in muddy roads for a few shillings fee. This happened especially during the April holidays because it was always wet.
Little did I know that I will also become a missionary and work in similar situations, driving not a Land Rover but Land Cruiser.
The newly blessed Loiborsiret Church
In Simanjiro District of Manyara Province, North East of Tanzania, The SVD missionaries run two parishes that cover an area of 200 Sq/Km. The population is mostly the Maasai people and so the area is called Maasai Steppe. I got an opportunity to work there during my Diaconate Experience. The Maasai people are generally kind and generous. Once they receive the faith, they hold it fast.
Blessing of the altar
Loiborsiret is one of the 26 outstations of the Good Shepherd parish run by SVD Missionaries. They have been constructing the Church building for the last 4 years. on Sunday 13, May 2018, was the day full of joy and celebrations. The new Archbishop of the Archdioces of Arusha where Simanjiro parish lies was visiting to Confer The Sacrament Confirmation as well as blessing of the Church building.
Pokea muhuri wa paji la Roho Mtakatifu – Receive the seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit
No one would easily believe that this Church has been built by the contributions of the people themselves, considering the conditions in which the ppeople live there, majority of whom are normadic pastoralists. The Catholic Church has been present in this area for the last 50 years yet the evangelization is still regarded as primary. During the last 16 years of the presence of the SVDs, many steps have been made toward the growth of the faith. The biggest challenge is illiteracy and poverty.
The Sunday’s occasion brought together people of all walks of life from the area, especially some prominent people who hold important positions in the government and in the society. Among them was Mr. Ole Sedeka, the Provincial Commissioner of Jombe province and Mr. Toima who was once a Member of Parliament of the area.
The Archbishop and indeed the leaders who spoke, stressed a lot on the importance of taking the children to school if the community wanted to make quick progress.
It was an experience of its kind. We congratulate the people of Simanjiro and especially our confreres Fr. Michael Shaji and Fr. Albert Fuchs who have been working tirelessly in this mission.
Fr. Lawrence Muthee, SVD.