AN OVERVIEW OF
THE TEC SECRETARIAT’S ACTIVITIES 1997 - 2000
The entry into the third millennium was a memorable event as the Conference celebrates its 44th anniversary. We all thank God for the different graces received. I feel honored to get a chance to give an overview of the activities of the secretariat in the last three years. This is meant to get all of us a general taste of what happened while the detailed report of each department, commission, institution or association is found in the big report and will be discussed at length in the discussion groups.
The Major Events:
In the first place we should remember our dead in this period. His eminence Laurean Cardinal Rugambwa, the first African cardinal of all times and the first African bishop in Tanzania passed away on 8th December 1997. The other bishops who died are Nicodemus Hhando bishop emeritus of Mbulu and Arnold Cotey, Bishop emeritus of Nachingwea. The Catholic Secretariat in the three years lost Mrs. Almena Kapinga, Ms Angela Blasius, Mr. Godfrey Kisakile. Mr. Francis Mashinga Lawi and Mr. Seraphe Gamuya. These together with other members of the church in the country, may they rest in the peace of the Lord.
The conference got five new members namely Bishops Damian Kyaruzi of Sumbawanga, Jude Ruwa’ichi of Mbulu, Jacob Koda of Same, Desiderius Rwoma of Singida, Method Kilaini, Auxiliary of Dar es Salaam and we are looking forward to the ordination of Bishop Elect Damian Dalu for Geita. We wish them well.
The joyful event of this period was the election fot the second Tanzania Cardinal, Polycarp Cardinal Pengo by His Holliness John Paul II, on 18th January 1998. Bishop Bernard Mabula of Singida retired. We also got a fifth metropolitan of Arusha under His Grace Josaphat Lebulu. The Holy Father sent a new Nuncio, His grace Luigi Pezzuto to take the place of His Grace Francesco Javier Lozano. We welcome him heartly.
The last three years were a blessing as many things went well. The staff remained stable. We have 132 permanent workers of whom 10 priests, 2 brothers, 18 sisters and 102 lay people (55 men and 47 women). Last year we did not increase salaries partly because the inflation was low and like in all Tanzania the money was scarce. All the same the morale of the workforce has remained high. With that there is still a need to have more supervision of work done by the heads of departments and sections for efficient and effective work. The former personnel officer died and the secretariat is in need of a new one. In the modern world more what is needed is not a big work force but a managable but hard working staff. Thay is why the secretariat has expanded by the staff was not increased.
Among the top executives, the Secretary General was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Dar es Salaam, this caused no rapture as the one year understudying Deputy took over as acting Secretary General, the Financial Controller, Mrs. Jean Mary Hayuma, left service for greener pastures. We thank her for 13 years of dedicated and faithful service to the secretariat in a delicate position. The secretariat got the seasoned communicator, Rev. Fr. Raphael Kilumanga as Press Secretary. The major change was to depart from own guards to rented guard services, the Dragon. This meant 12 people less on our direct pay roll and even if not necessarily cheaper it is safer and less cumbersome.
Finance: Over the years the Secretariat has developed a strict financial control practice. This not only minimises theft but also facilitates reporting. The basic principle is that everybody, no matter who he is, has to give openly full account of the money used by him or her. To improve this mechanism a special study was undertaken by the then Cooper and Lybrands who came out with a very good financial manual for the secretariat. At present all financial operations are fully computerised with a new year 2000 compliant software. This system has given a sense of responsibility to all the TEC workers, knowing that we are custodians of other people’s moneys and have to account for it.
Finance Management Workshops: To share this with the dioceses, the Finance department organised financial management workshops in four zones. In this they were helped by CORAT Africa and financed by Misereor. Treasurer Generals and development officers of the dioceses attended these workshops. It was nice because all dioceses except one participated with enthusiasm and profit. Also the Women religious attended similar workshops under CORAT in Mbagala. Let us hope that this will open a new era both in the secretariat and dioceses of greater financial transparency and accountability accompanied with good reporting.
For the last fifteen years the secretariat aimed at being self-reliant. Now one can say that we have been successful as the secretariat can run fully with its own raised funds. It uses donor funds only for programmes agreed upon with the donors but not for the basic recurrent expenditure of the secretariat. The Catholic Secretariat of the Tanzania Episcopal Conference does not live from hand to mouth. For this we are grateful to the Bishops of the conference who have always put self-reliance as a priority. It is also true that the secretariat has no gold mine but had daily to work hard to earn its bread.
To enhance self-reliance the secretariat continues to invest as to diversify its sources of income and to change its stress according to the financial trends. This needs one to be alert and great cooperation from the whole corpus of TEC staff.
Kurasini Centre: In the last three years the biggest investment was in the TEC physical infrastructure, Kurasini centre in particular. We have finished a four floor Conference-Hostel building, the renovation of the refectory and kitchen with new equipments in it, the sisters’ house and laundry. Kurasini Centre is the most successful investment so far. It is continuously growing in popularity. For the last two years it has contributed 45% of the annual income of the secretariat. More investment has to be made in it in terms of manpower training and equipment. Land scaping to that area has started and hopefully will be followed by face lifting of the whole landscaping of the secretariat.
We have also acquired the house and plot behind the complex. This gives more room to the site and another possible outlet to the main road. This is in addition to another house acquired across the road now inhabited by one of our senior officers. Major and minor repairs have been made to the rent houses. The staff houses in Valley Inn need repair.
Buma Building Bureau: The consultancy section is growing as many dioceses are asking for assistance in architectural drawings and assistance in the construction itself. In the last 3 years they did more than 60 designs and assisted with actual construction in 12 dioceses. They also train three students a year in draughtsmanship. In the future the section will be of greater demand as the government is demanding qualified architects and engineers for any building or relevant value. The office needs to organise itself better in its working schedules and on the part of the dioceses they have to support it by paying for the services received. The problem is that we continue to depend on a foreign paid engineer, as we cannot get or afford to pay a local one.
Buma service is doing well in spite of the difficult situation it is working in. Buma has in the last three years taken up the responsibility of local purchases and storage duties. With the revocation of duty exemption for church imported goods, Buma has lost one of its advantages. Soon or later it has to be decided whether to scale down Buma or open it to free trade.
Forwarding and clearing agency is facing the same problem as Buma service. Without duty exemption less people are importing things. Yet on further observation one realises that the situation is not so bad. Though it takes long and is cumbersome, most of the items, even non medical - education items, can be released free of duties and VAT. Only there is no blanket exemption but each item has to be negotiated separately. Our agency will need to increase its professionalism and above all its public relations (PR) skills.
The Insurance agency is doing well but it is still in its infancy. It is already insuring all the TEC vehicles, new vehicles on transit and has made contact with near dioceses.
A study was made on Oldeani farm and consequently a Board of Directors was formed and a new Brother to operate the farm appointed. Though it is still dependent on rain and prices, it is worthy investing in. We are grateful for the good cooperation we are having from Mbulu diocese.
The other incomes come from bank interest, rent houses, and grants for some projects like WID in Caritas, AIDS in Health and the communications Department. The lorries are on the decline and have been reduced to only two good ones.
Spirituality: For the last decade, one of the first priorities of the secretariat was to give it a pastoral approach. This went hand in hand with including devotions in our schedules like Holy Mass every first Friday of the month and retreats for the workers. We start with prayer every morning in the different departments before work, common prayer every day before coffee break, prepare the youth for family life and similar things. The community life and life of prayer of those living near the secretariat in particular the priests and religious communities was emphasised through common daily morning and evening prayers, Holy Mass, common retreats for all the communities together once in three months, pilgrimages and monthly retreats for each community separately and a good choir for our chapel. This was the basis for any success and harmony had in the secretariat.
Pastoral: In the last five years since 1995, the whole secretariat concentrated on the preparation and celebration of the Great Jubilee Year 2000. Every year for a given theme a booklet was prepared followed by a national seminar of between 75 – 90 participants from all dioceses representing all sectors of the church. After that seminars were carried out through the zones to the dioceses, parishes up to small Christian communities. The themes were were in 1996, a caring family; in 1997, Incarnation of Christ in the African family (enculturation); in 1998, The Church: Temple of the Holy Spirit (Biblical Apostolate); in 1999, A missionary family; and in 2000, a Celebrating Family. This was complimented by pilgrimages to the Holy Land and to Rome.
The ceremonies of the Great Jubilee were either translated from the Roman text or composed. The climax of this celebration are the jubilee crosses which in almost all the dioceses are being carried triumphantly and piously from community to community. HE. Bishop Amedeus Msarikie has to be particularly thanked for the great success of this initiative. To support the above three departments namely Pastoral, Liturgy and catechetics pooled their forces.
Liturgy: The Liturgy department translated liturgical ceremonies for matrimony, ordination of deacons, priests and bishops and dedication of churches. The problem here is that these translations take long, sometimes up to two years before the bishops have time to read them and vote them for use. Through seminars and meetings they have sensitised the diocesan liturgy coordinators. The department is working has issued guidelines to be used by the choirs giving them a pastoral liturgical guidance without killing their charisma and initiative. The department has facilitated liturgical functions in the different dioceses. Iringa diocese supplied the old catholic Kiswahili bible version. More than 60,000 bibles have been sold through this department.
Catechetical: The big achievement of the Catechetical department helped by the liturgical department is the translation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church in Kiswahili. It has been inaugurated and has already sold more than 2,500 copies. It is in big demand both in Tanania and kenya. The department has prepared and printed the syllabus for primary schools and has already printed the O level catholic syllabus, which is in use. An ecumenical syllabus for the A level divinity exam is in preparation. Dioceses are struggling to have religion taught in all schools but often there isn’t enough personnel or means to support the personnel. The department is working hand in hand with Catechetical Training Centres.
The Apostolate of the laity is crucial for the success of evangelisation. In the last three years there was an effort to reinvigorate their activities and particularly to bring cohesion among them. Through seminars, retreats and prayer meetings the national leaders of the different lay organisations were brought together to spell out a common policy. Also initiatives are being taken to give a financial accounting policy and financial management training so as to have more transparency and accountability. On the whole many lay organisations with few exceptions are doing well and have committed leaders. The only weak point is the national leadership of the National Council for the Laity. Unfortunately until now it does not have all the posts filled. Ways have to be sought to get good leaders and motivate them. The laity are struggling to put up the Bakanja TEC Laity Centre, but there is still a lot to be done before it reaches a good standard.
Tanzania is not an island so it is receiving many lay organisations from oversees. A number of them have the blessing of the Holy See. These organisations and movements like the Catholic Charismatic, the Neo-catechumenati, the Folkolarini, Kolping family, World faiths, different tertiaries, etc are good but need careful follow up. The local church authority has to make sure that they work within the local church’s framework. They must put their charisms at the service of the local church and not see themselves as a separate better organ in that church.
The commissions are doing relatively well. The commission of evangelisation with its Pontifical Missionary Societies is once again taking its message to the dioceses. To succeed though it has to work more closely with the other pastoral departments. The Migrant and Itinerant Peoples got a new secretary who has still to establish himself. The canon Law Commission is doing very well, always ready to respond to any situation or give help when asked. The Commission for Armed Forces and Prisons has continued to correspond with the dioceses and encourage them Now the Commission of Justice and peace is giving them a hand as regards the prisons. Unfortunately the Commission of Theology has remained dormant. The commission of Justice and Peace in collaboration with the Christian Professionals of Tanzania (CPT) have done a good job in analysing and sensitising the people on economical and political problems of the country, particularly now before the election.
Education: In the last three years the church continued to concentrate on education, secondary schools in particular. Seminaries are doing very well in their national exams, the other schools are average with exceptional bright ones and some doing very badly. The big complaint is lack of qualified teachers in many of our schools. TEC is cooperating well with CSSC in improving Mathematics and science teaching in our secondary schools with the help of the German Government and our German church partners.
In this period our office has increased its contacts with the diocesan offices and the dioceses are using more our office especially in registering schools and other contacts with the ministry. The secretary has also visited a number of dioceses. Some dioceses have now diocesan education secretaries but a good number still do not have. The education department prior to the election has prepared text-books and run seminars for civic education in secondary schools
SAUT: (St. Augustine University of Tanzania) We now have the good news that our young university got full registration and thus enjoys all the rights of a recognised university with a charter from the Government. This is a result of hard work particularly by the Vice Chancellor and all his helpers. The university still has need of funds to develop. The major supporter of the institution is still Misereor through scholarships; His Eminence Polycarp Cardinal Pengo has used all his influence with success to raise funds for SAUT.
Mwenge Teacher Training College is alomost ready to start on its way to being a university college. Many thanks to Rt. Rev. Amedeus Msarikie and Moshi diocese that took it upon themselves to build and equipped the school without financial help from the conference. Efforts are being made led by the Songea metropolitan to either build or acquire buildings of the NBC academy in Iringa for the southern college of SAUT.
The five major seminaries under the two boards are doing well. The big problem is staff. Segerea has a big problem, as it has become a fertile source of bishops who are difficult to replace as teachers. The dioceses have taken up responsibility for the chaplaincies in their jurisdiction. Among the Chaplaincies, that of Da es Salaam University is the model example and because of its good performance has been raised to a parish status.
Health: Besides the mammoth Bugando Medical Centre, the Catholic Church in Tanzania runs 40 hospitals and 350 health Centres and dispensaries. The departments like that of education cooperates with CSSC in the improvement of services delivery. It has also to join CSSC in the advocacy with the government for greater subsidies for social services especially after the reduction of the external debt.
The medical department with help from the Italian Caritas is trying to improve the 1st line church health facilities. A number of dioceses are still working on their diocesan health policies. This is important if they are to run a sustainable service.
The plague in Tanzania as in other African countries is AIDS. Tanzania has 530,000 AIDS patients and about 1.6 million infected with HIV. The AIDS section has made efforts that have at last been recognised even by the government that is ready to support its committee. The sure message of the church is that the vaccination for AIDS is chastity.
Bugando Medical Centre is the gigantic monument of catholic involvement in health services. They have made a great effort to improve the services. They work hard on zonal trainings, capacity building and intramural services. The big problem with the hospital is that for its running expenses it depends on the government budget that is often not honoured. This makes it difficult to plan and there are perennial debts. On the part of the hospital they were lucky to receive a few grants and donations from the Maryknol. JICA, Orthopedic Overseas and AMREF. From Misereor they received DEM 500,000 for rehabilitation. The work is slowly taking place. Plans to make it a medical school as a constituent college of our University are underway but still need a lot to be done particularly to get needed funds.
Caritas: The works of Love is one of the mandates of our Lord and Caritas is the charitable arm of the secretariat. In the last three years Caritas continued with its restructuring process as indicated by the 1997 plenary. The capacity of Caritas has been raised to meet the needs of the dioceses and the partners by employing people and training the existing ones. Teamwork has been enhanced among the caritas workers. All of this is to increase professionalism, efficiency, effectiveness and transparency. The bringing in of the assistant executive Secretary to help Mr. Clement Rweramira has added a new vigor to Caritas and increased its credibility in the dioceses and among partners.
It continued with its activities like emergency food distribution using almost 900 million Tshillings from partners to buy and distribute food to 22 dioceses. It also continued to distribute food supplied by the Prime Ministers Office and the World Food Programme. With visits and financial help it has been close to Kigoma and Rulenge diocese on the refugees from our eastern neighbours. The office receives urban refugees and desperate people that need urgent help.
In the development area, the Women in Development (WID) section is the most advanced and effective. It has reached effectively almost all the dioceses. A coordinator for the children desk is still being sought. With the actual restructuring we hope that the other sections of development will be revitalized.
The problem facing caritas is still professionalism both in the national and diocesan offices, good accounting and reporting in the dioceses and effective personnel in some dioceses.
The important thing was the innauguration of the Commission for consecrated life. This is to bring about a smoother flow of communication between the religious and the conference. It has started work and is slowly defining itself and mapping out its way. The great blessing of the Tanzania church is its richness in religious vocations both for men and women. We now have more than 10,000 religious of both local and international congregations.
RWSAT: Religious Women Superiors Association of Tanzania has a membership of 82 congregations with 7,600 sisters in 20 diocesan and 62 International congregations. Unlike the diocesan congregations, the international congregations have many opportunities of training ad exposure for their members. For that reason RWSAT has tried hard to organise seminars and workshops for the sisters here in Tanzania on diverse topics from retreats, formation, management, social justice issues and religious studies. They are for many years struggling to build a holistic center in Morogoro as to be neat the Religious Theological Institute so as to benefit from its services. RWSAT has also kept contact with other religious associations in other countries.
The crucial point for congregations is to give basic formal education (ie. Secondary School level) to the sisters. Bigwa is the common institution for that and fortunately in the last three years its performance has been improving year after year. With declining financial support from donors it has now to face the financial restraints. Some congregations are running secondary schools where they can also take their sisters. Another development is that some seminaries have accepted sisters for Form V and VI. RWSAT hopes that their long awaited statutes will be passed by the conference.
RSAT: Religious Superiors Association of Tanzania has 38 member congregations a good number of them small. Most of the congregations are of the pontifical right. In these congregations the Tanzania members are increasing at a good rate. A number of the older congregations have started regions and provinces in Tanzania due to the increase of the local members. RSAT has two major seminaries one in Morogoro and the other in Arusha. The Missionary Awareness Committee is active and tries to cooperate with PMS. They sponsored the national mission workshop in collaboration with TEC pastoral department in 1998 and zonal workshops are to follow. Some of these congregations are complementing well the diocesan efforts in specialised fields like the youth, prisons, street children, drug addicts etc.
Radio and Television: In the last three years the conference and church of Tanzania has increased its capacity of communication. The radio section of the conference besides its regular religious broadcasts has now started airing TV programmes with the national Television (TVT). Bishops have been televised and our TEC chapel choir was one of the first to sing on it. Radio Tumaini of Dar es Salaam Archdiocese besides running its popular 24 hours Radio programme has time on a private television CTN for weekly religious broadcasts. A number of dioceses are either already on the air with their radios or are planning to do so soon, these include Songea, Morogoro, Sumbawanga, Shinyanga and our young university of SAUT. The Audio Visual: section is doing well and its Great Jubilee Kitenge was a success both nationally and internationally.
Kiongozi: At last Kiongozi has proved that with a close follow-up and dedication it can run and survive without outside funding. The experience has shown that for Kiongozi the selling news is religious news. Now with Fr. Kilumanga in that office our hopes for it are high.
Cyber World: The Tanzania church has entered fully in the cyber world of Internet. The conference has a web site with subsidiary web sites for Kiongozi and Caritas. Thousands of people worldwide have visited these sites. More dioceses are joining the cyber world by connecting to the E-mail system. Though unfortunately Fr. Kija is now sick and the former SG is leaving, the plan of having a TEC server for the dioceses and church institutions supported by OCIC is still viable.
CSSC: The most impressive initiative is the Christian Social Services Commission. This instrument brings together the bishops and executives of the Tanzania Episcopal Conference (TEC) and the Christian Council of Tanzania (CCT) in a common effort of improving the social services rendered by the churches. In this they are helped by the sister churches in Germany through Misereor and EZE. CSSC has continued to supply books and chemicals to schools, to train and monitor teachers, rehabilitation fo laboratories and libraries, and build staff houses. The sad event was the death of Mr. Seraphim Gamuya, a dedicated worker seconded to CSSC by TEC to head the education section there. In the medical field it supplies drugs, builds staff houses and does some rehabilitations. In both sections it is an effective representative of the interests of the churches both with the government and international organisations. CSSC offers scholarships for training. It is the duty of our departments of Health and Education to liaise with CSSC and to see that our institutions profit as much as possible from it.
TEDG: On the side line of CSSC is the Tanzania Ecumenical Dialogue Group, a group that tries to help the above ecumenical effort in political, economical and social issues. In the last three years it held two workshops and is now preparing a senstitisation and monitoring programme for the next elections.
Other ecumenical efforts include, the Bible Society of Tanzania on which we are represented and common advocacy to the government on issues of common interest. The commission of Ecumenism is the bridge between the Catholic Church and other Christian churches especially on religious matters.
In the last three years the confeence has kept good contact with our traditional partners lin Europe, Australia and the America. Germany has remained the great suppoeter of the conference followed by Holland, Australia, Italy, UK and Switzeland in that order. Also the conference has improved contacts with the church offices in Rome through needed correspondence and personal contacts. The conference is looking with success for other partners too through different embassies. Friendships has been established with the other African secretariats especially those of AMECEA.
We take this chance to thank all who have enabled the secretariat to funtion in the last three years. In particular we want to thank the TEC President, Rt. Rev. Justin Samba, the Pro-President, His Eminence Polycarp Cardinal Pengo, the Bishop Chairmen of different departments, the executive secretaries of departments, secretaries of commissions, heads of intitutions, organisations and all the workers of the conference for the contribution they have given.
Personally I want to thank the bishops of the conference for the help they have given me in the last nine and half years as Secretary General. Though the work is demanding I must confess the bishops, the major religious Superiors, leaders of the laity, and my colleagues in the secretariat were always very supportive and encouraging especially in the first years when I needed it most. I have done my best and ask for forgiveness where I did not manage well. I wish well to the one who is coming after me that he can start where I have stopped and go to greater heights.
May the Good Lord God bless you all. AMEN
Titular Bishop of Strumitza and
Auxiliary Bishop of Dar es Salaam