Thousands of Catholics, other Christian and non-Christians gathered at Tanzania’s coastal tourist town of Bagamoyo on Sunday to mark 150 Jubilees of evangelism and development of social services in East and Central Africa.
Apart from Tanzania, the gathering t that took place in the Indian Ocean tourist town of Bagamoyo had attracted visitors from Africa with special guests from Europe and other parts of the world.
The tourist, historical town of Bagamoyo is located 75 kilometers from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s commercial capital.
The former slave trade town, Bagamoyo was the first entry point for Christian missionaries from Europe about 150 years ago, making this small historical town to be the door of Faith in East Africa and Central Africa.
Developed with modern tourist hotels and lodges, Bagamoyo is now a fast-growing holiday paradise on the Indian Ocean coast after Zanzibar, Malindi, and Lamu.
The first Catholic Mission in East Africa was established in Bagamoyo after successful negotiations between the early Christian missionaries and representatives of Sultan Said El-Majid the Sultan Barghash. These two prominent leaders were the past rulers of present Tanzania.
Bagamoyo mission was established in 1870 to house children rescued from slavery but later expanded to a Catholic church, a school, technical school workshops, and farming projects.
Pope Francis has appointed Kenyan Cardinal John Njue, the Archbishop of Nairobi who had represented him (the Pontiff) at the event which had attracted all Catholic Bishops from Tanzania and others from the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA).
Under a theme of “150 Years of Evangelism; the joy of the Gospel”, Catholics from Tanzania and rest of Africa marked the event with reflections of the past history of Christianity in Africa with the roles of the missionaries on development, mostly education and health services.
Catholic Church and other evangelical associations in Africa have been the leading providers of education, health, and key social services to poor communities in Africa.
The Vatican Letter titled “Africa Terrarum” from Pope Paul VI published on Oct 29in 1967 had insisted on the church to continue to be faithful to the traditions of Christian faith in Africa.
The Letter says that the wealth, deposit, and legacy of the traditions from Africa are in line with the process of religious discussion to build and maintain the principles of justice, peace and reconciliation amongst people.
Pope Paul VI said in the pastoral letter that solidarity was a basis for sustainable development in Africa by recognizing that the continent has been blessed to have the foundations for family, spiritual and social life.
The continent has values that should be developed to combat discrimination, ethnicity, religious conflicts, war and strife. In this letter, the Pope discussed sustainable development, respect for human rights, eradication of ignorance, poverty and diseases.