Pope Francis impressed by Tanzanian Bishops During their Canonical Visit to Rome

A delegation of Catholic Bishops from Tanzania has completed their obligatory visit to the Vatican City in Rome.

According to official reports from the association of Member Episcopal Conference of Eastern Africa, during their journey to Rome the clerics visit had audience with the Holy Father and other Vatican officials.

The ‘Ad Limina Apostolorum,’ visit is usually made by all bishops from different countries in the world.

The purpose of the quinquennium mission to Rome is to meet with the Holy Father and Vatican officials.

The Secretary General of the Tanzania Episcopal Conference (TEC) Reverend Charles Kitima, said the official apostolic visit started on May 14 and climaxed on Sunday, May 21, 2023.

All Catholic bishops from 34 dioceses in Tanzania including auxiliary bishops and the Secretary General of TEC took part in the Ad Limina, with the exception of Bishops Emeritus.

In the delegation there was also Father Chesco Msaga, the Deputy Secretary of TEC and Father Thomas Kiangio the Apostolic Supervisor of the Catholic Diocese of Tanga.

The Code of Canon Law dictates that the visits are supposed to be undertaken every five years.

The aim is to present a quinquennial, or rather, a detailed report on the state of a diocese.

Each Diocese presents to the Holy Father and the Vatican an update on the activities of the bishop and diocese in several areas.

These include the liturgical and sacramental life of the local Church, Catholic education, evangelization, communications, social teaching of the Church, the financial state of the diocese and more.

The chapters roughly correspond to the departments and offices of the Vatican.

“This is a pilgrimage that involves all the bishops of the Catholic Church in Tanzania who usually, in accordance with the Church’s procedures, should meet the Holy Father after every five years,” said Father Kitima.

They usually pray and visit the sacred places at the headquarters of the Catholic Church in the World, the Vatican City and present detailed reports on the status of their respective dioceses.

The last delegation from Tanzania Episcopal Conference to undertake the AD Limina Apostolorum Visit was in 2014.

During the visit Pope Francis was impressed to know that all bishops were indigenous Tanzanians, which proved the firm foundation of the missionaries, missions.

The Head of the Catholic Church also praised the work of evangelization being done in the country through internal missionaries.

In his speech the Pope pointed out that the Church in Tanzania is blessed with many gifts for which as Catholics “we must all give thanks to God.”

“I think, in the first place, of the impressive history of missionary work throughout the region…

…Building upon the zeal and sacrifices of the first evangelizers, you must always maintain and foster this missionary imperative, so that the Gospel may increasingly permeate every work of the apostolate and shed its light on all areas of Tanzanian society…

In this way, a new and dynamic chapter in the great missionary and evangelical history of your country will be written,” he stated.

He was encouraged to know that Tanzania is committed to ensuring the freedom of worship that followers of various religions enjoy practicing their faith.

During Ad Limina, bishops are privileged to participate the audience with Pope Francis.

They also visited and conducted Masses at the major churches of Rome; St. Peter’s Basilica, St. Paul Outside the Walls, St. John Lateran and St. Mary Major.

In addition, the bishops also managed to meet with officials from many of the departments and offices in the Roman Curia.