The Arusha Catholic Archdiocese is marking its 60 years anniversary, though the actual journey towards its establishment dates back more than 97 years ago.
And despite that fact that the ceremony to that effect is taking place on the first day of October 2023, the actual establishment of the diocese essentially took place in March 1963.
History has it that, in 1963, Pope John XXIII created the Roman Catholic Diocese of Arusha.
The pontiff then appointed Dennis Durning to be the diocese founding Bishop on the first day of March 1963.
Bishop Dennis Durning was an American, Catholic Bishop and Holy Ghost Father, a member of Congregation of the Holy Ghost under the Immaculate Heart of Mary
On March 6, 1989, Bishop Durning retired and went to live at the Holy Spirit parish in the village of Bashai-Lambo, Diocese of Mbulu where continued with missionary service until his death on February 21, 2002.
Bishop Durning died at the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center in Moshi. Initially, he was buried in the Holy Ghost Fathers Cemetery in Usa-River Area.
However, Bishop Durning’s body was later exhumed and moved to be buried below the church altar inside the Saint Elizabeth Catholic Parish of Engarenarok.
Father Fortunatus Lukanima who replaced Durning was appointed the Bishop of the now Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Arusha in 1989. Lukanima resigned nine years later in 1998.
Pope John Paul II appointed Bishop Josaphat Louis Lebulu to head the Catholic Diocese of Arusha on 28 Nov 1998.
On 16 March 1999, the diocese was promoted to become the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Arusha.
Bishop Lebulu would then be appointed to serve as the Archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Arusha that same day. He served for 18 years and retired on 27 December 2017.
Bishop Isaac Amani, who replaced Lebulu, was installed the Archbishop on April 8, 2018, in a ceremony graced by former Tanzanian President, the late John Pombe Magufuli.
Covering 67.3 square kilometers, the Catholic Archdiocese of Arusha serves more than 600,000 members.
The Arusha Catholic Archdiocese is among 34 Dioceses of the Roman Catholic Church of Tanzania.
Evangelization mission in Arusha started on July 15, 1926, when a delegation of Holy Ghost Fathers Missionaries from Kilimanjaro was invited to visit what was then a small hamlet.
During that time Arusha used to be part of Kilimanjaro Vicariate.
The priests arrived in Arusha and opened a Mission in an area which later became the Metropolitan.
The Mission center developed slowly growing into a Parish, which is known as Saint Theresa of Child Jesus.
Saint Theresa is believed to have been also the first Church Building in the Town Center then.
At the moment the large Cathedral Building is being constructed at the Parish located adjacent to the river Naura, a water stream which flows from Mount Meru and cuts across the Arusha City.