CATHOLIC DIOCESE OF TANGA

view this page in swahili

History

 

PHASE FOUR: 1970 - PRESENT
NATIVE LEADERSHIP: BISHOPS KOMBA, MKUDE, & BANZI


A: MOST REV. BISHOP MAURUS GERVAS KOMBA (1970 – 1988)
a). Election of Bishop Maurus
This is the first African bishop of Tanga. He was appointed a bishop of Tanga on December 15, 1969 at the very time when the resignation of Bishop Arthurs was announced.  Bishop-elect Maurus Komba was ordained bishop of Tanga on March 15, 1970. His principal consecrator was His Eminence Laurean Cardinal Rugambwa, the Archbishop of Dar-Es-salaam and principal co-consecrators were Most Rev. Bishop Eugene Arthurs, I.C. the retired bishop of Tanga and Most Rev. Abbot Eberhard (Hermann) Spiess, O.S.B. the retired bishop of the Diocese of Peramiho (later Songea) in Ruvuma. 

 
 b). Who is This?
The announcement of Fr. Maurus Komba as the new bishop of the Diocese of Tanga was kind of a shock to many since he was totally unknown to the missionaries who were working in Tanga as well as to many indigenous of Tanga areas. Those who knew of the bishop elect were a number of people in Tanga whose origins were in Ruvuma Region. A number of these people migrated in Tanga to work in tea and sisal plantations and some of them had retired and settled in many parts of Tanga Region.


 c). A Short History of Bishop Maurus
At the time of his election as the bishop of Tanga, Fr. Maurus Gervas Komba was a Vicar General of the new Diocese of Songea, the position he had worked both for Most Rev. Abbot Eberhard (Hermann) Spiess, O.S.B. as the bishop of the Diocese of Peramiho and then for a short time for Bishop James Komba, a new bishop of Songea Diocese. Originally, Fr. Maurus Komba was the native of Litembo Parish in Mbinga District. His ethnic community is Matengo which mostly occupy the mountainous areas of the District of Mbinga. He underwent his formal education in his home village of Litembo and then in Kigonsera Middle School before he joined Peramiho Major Seminary where he did his philosophical and theological studies. He was ordained a priest on July 15, 1954 for the Catholic Diocese of Peramiho.  In his early years of priesthood he worked as an assisting priest and then as the priest in-charge in a number of parishes in Mbinga area parishes (Mbinga, Mbangamao and Mkumbi). He was later appointed a Vicar General for the Diocese of Peramiho which later transitioned to Songea Diocese. 
When Fr. Maurus Komba was named a bishop of Tanga, he was a seasoned pastor of souls who worked very hard with many of his people who had long roots of Christianity. He was also an experienced diocesan administrator who worked with many German Benedictine monks and nuns as well as many fellow indigenous clergy and nuns in his home diocese of Peramiho/Songea.


 e). Bishop Maurus with the Native Missionary Priests from Peramiho
A number of his fellow priests from his home diocese had preceded him as missionaries in Tanga by the requested of Bishop Arthurs to work among the Catholics whose roots were in Ruvuma Region. With this background, the newly appointed bishop was both unknown and known to some extent to the people of Tanga.


 f). Early Days of Bishop Maurus Ministry in Tanga
As he arrives in Tanga, the bishop elect landed into a different social and religious landscapes from his home diocese. The population of Christians in Tanga was very small, the number of missionary priests and nuns as well as the number indigenous clergy and nuns was very small comparing to Peramiho. At the time of his ordination as the Bishop of Tanga, there were only three native diocesan priests in the diocese.
Bishop elect Maurus Komba arrived in the diocese in January 1970 to familiarize himself with the Diocese of Tanga. In the following month he visited every parish of the diocese and met and spoke to each and every priest and brother who worked in the diocese. During that time he met with many nuns and lay people of the diocese. This was a very positive move he made. It created a very good impression to all people with whom he met. The population (priests, brothers, nuns, and laity), which attended his ordination ceremony on March 15, 1970, came with much easiness since they had familiarized with him. To the great extent it was a challenge for the population of Tanga to have a first native bishop in the diocese. It was a new experience all together. 
Bishop Maurus Komba proved to be the most charming, genial, simple, and a grateful person. He enjoyed working with everyone. He was kind and gracious. He had prepared himself to serve the people of his diocese with love and care. He made an effort to visit not only parishes but also in the outstations and he took time to talk, visit, and listen to people of all backgrounds.


 g). The First Five Years of His Ministry in Tanga
During the first five years of his episcopate in the diocese, Bishop Maurus began to experience the dwindling of Rosminian missionary priests number in the diocese. Very few of them were coming in Tanga from their home country and those who were in the diocese were beginning to age as well as leaving. In his efforts to get more workers in the vineyard, he visited Ireland and United States to recruit for more missionary priests and brothers to come and work in Tanga but he never succeeded to get positive response.
From this experience, he decided to begin active recruitment of priestly and religious vocation within his own diocese. From the time he hit the ground in Tanga for ministry, he began recruiting for native seminarians. He expressed his great love and support for young seminarians who were joining junior seminary formation at St. Peter’s Junior Seminary in Morogoro. He knew them by names and he always met with them when they were back in the diocese for vacation.


 h). Bishop Maurus bigins a Junior Seminary in Soni
In 1974 the Rosminian Fathers closed their St. Michael International School for boys in Soni and handed the buildings to the diocese. Bishop Maurus used St. Michael’s International School buildings to begin a diocesan junior seminary, which was officially registered as a secondary school in 1976. Prior to the beginning the junior seminary in Soni, the diocese was competing to have few admission placements at St. Peter’s inter-diocesan seminary in Morogoro. A number of young boys who would like to pursue their studies in the seminary could not do so. With having Soni Junior Seminary for the young boys of the diocese, many young boys from all over the diocese could receive seminary formation in the diocese. With the help of the native sisters and priests as well as the Rosminian and Benedictine missionaries in the diocese, the seminary was able to deepen its roots in the diocese.  Before his retirement as the Bishop of Tanga in 1988, Bishop Maurus was able to ordain six young priests who did their initial formation at Soni Seminary. These were Rev. Frs. John F. Mahundi (1985), Severine P. Yagaza (1986), Charles Mhina (1987), Laurent S. Mapunda (1987), Joseph S. Mbenna (1987), and Leopold R. Nyandwi (1987). By the time he retired from his leadership, he had ordained the total of 26 native diocesan priests.

i). Vocation of Native Sisters
In his pastoral trips to the parishes of the diocese, Bishop Maurus kept on recruiting for the religious vocations. He positively supported nurturing sisters vocations for those who were to join the Congregation of Our Lady of Usambara (COLU).


 j). Opening of New Parishes
During his 18 years of ministry in Tanga, Bishop Maurus experienced the opening of the ten new parishes in the diocese. Three factors which led the opening of these ten parishes were: the increase of Catholic population in the diocese, reducing the size of existing mega territory parishes and a blessing of more native priests who were ordained in the diocese.  Pangani Parish was opened in 1973. It proceeded from St. Theresa Parish in Tanga. Hale Parish was opened in 1974. It proceeded from Potwe Parish territory. Handeni Parish was created in 1976 to reduce the territory which was served by Kwediboma Parish. In 1976 Magoma Parish was erected from Kilole Parish territory. In 1976 Sakharani Parish was started from Gare Parish territory. In the same year 1976 Malindi Parish was started from Rangwi Parish territory. In 1985 two parishes were created. Amani Parish was born from Muheza Parish territory and St. Peter-Saruji Parish outside Pongwe was created from St. Anthony Cathedral Parish. The last parish to be created in his reign was Mombo Parish, which was created in 1986, and it proceeded from Mazinde Parish.


 k). The Last Days of Bishop Maurus' leadership
Bishop Maurus’ health condition began to deteriorate in 1983 when he began receiving more medical help in his native home hospital in Litembo. With health struggles he continued to shepherd the diocese of Tanga with great love and zeal until the Vatican accepted his resignation on January 18, 1988. Later that year, Bishop Maurus returned back to Mbinga Diocese where he lived in retirement until he died on February 23, 1996 at the age of 73 years old. Bishop Maurus’ body has been buried at the main entrance of St. Aloyce Gonzaga Parish church in Mbinga, Tanzania. 

 

B: MOST REV. BISHOP TELESPHORE MKUDE  (1988 – 1993)

 

a). Election of Bishop Mkude
Bishop Telesphore Mkude was appointed the third bishop of Tanga (the second native bishop of Tanga) on January 18, 1988 after the resignation of Bishop Maurus Komba. The bishop elect Mkude was a priest of the Diocese of Morogoro. Until his appointment as the Bishop of Tanga, he was a Vicar General of the Diocese of Morogoro and also the spiritual director for Mgolole Sisters. The bishop elect was ordained the bishop of Tanga on April 26, 1988. His principal consecrator was His Emminance Laurean Cardinal Rugambwa, the Archbishop of Dar-Es-Salaam and the principal co-consecrators were Bishop Maurus G. Komba, the retired bishop of Tanga and Bishop Andrian Mkoba, the bishop of Morogoro Diocese.

Bishop Telesphor Mkude

b). The Early Years of Bishop Mkude
Bishop Mkude carried on the good works of his predecessors. From the very beginning of his ministry as the Bishop of Tanga, Bishop Mkude worked very hard to know his flock and serve it lovingly.


i). Pope John Paul II visit in Tanzania: Pope John Paul II visited Tanzania on September 1 - 5, 1990. This was the first time for the history of the church in Tanzania for the Holy Father to visit. Bishop Mkude included the Pope’s visit to Tanzania as a pastoral strategy to awakening faith in the diocese. He encouraged the people of the diocese to renew their own Christian life as the spiritual preparation to the visit of the Holy Father.


 ii). Creation of the diocesan leadership structure: From the very beginning of his leadership, Bishop Mkude championed to creating structure in the administration of the diocese. He moved the Diocesan Chancery Office from the Bishop’s House in Raskazone Area to Chumbageni and immediately began to house most of diocesan level offices in one building. He campaigned throughout the diocese for erecting the Diocesan Pastoral Center in Chumbageni. Though this project started during his time, it was his predecessor who came to build it.
iii). Formation House: In 1991 Bishop Mkude started a Formation House at Gare for the spiritual formation year of our diocesan seminarians transitioning from high schools to major seminaries. He appointed Rev. Fr. John Kika Zuakuu as the Director of this program. This program was later moved from Gare to Shashui near Soni Junior Seminary

.
c). Vocations of Vineyard Workers
Bishop Mkude continued to support works of vocation throughout the diocese. He supported the wellbeing of Soni Seminary School in so many ways. He immediately appointed Rev. Fr. George Mhuza to be the rector of the seminary after he had graduated from the University of Dar-Es-Salaam.  He championed to bring back a big portion of the seminary land which was appropriated by local villagers during the Arusha Declaration time.  In that transaction, he had to authorize the payment of one million Tanzanian shillings to reimburse the villagers who had planted long-term plants in the plot.
Bishop Mkude continued to support the on-going formation of diocesan priests in the spiritual life as well as in their solidarity. He encouraged the diocesan priests to be active in UMAWATA.


d). Missionaries and Diocesan Sisters
In his time, Bishop Mkude continued to support the ministry of missionaries throughout the diocese. He nurtured their presence and their efforts to minister in the diocese. He fully supported the ministry of the COLU sisters in the vital ministry in the diocese. During his leadership, the COLU sister programs continued to expand within the diocese and beyond.
e). Establishment of New Parishes
During his time as the bishop of Tanga he experienced the opening of three new parishes Soni Parish which was created in 1989 from Gare Parish territory. St. Mathias Mulumba in Usagara/Sahare Tanga was created 1990 from the St. Anthony Cathedral Parish territory. The third parish was Manundu Parish in Korogwe which was created in 1991 from Kilole Parish territory.


f). Health
Knowing the importance of health in the diocese, Bishop Mkude championed to start the Tumaini Hospital in the city of Tanga. This hospital has been a big blessing to the Tanga diocesan personnel who need high health care. It is also a famous hospital to all people of Tanga areas.


g). The End of Bishop Mkude’s Leadership
The reign of Bishop Telesphore Mkude ended on April 5, 1993 when he was appointed the bishop of his home diocese of Morogoro following the resignation of Bishop Adrian Mkoba on November 6, 1992.
During his five years as bishop of Tanga he presided at ordination to priesthood of ten diocesan priests.

 

C: TRANSITIONING (APRIL 10, 1993 – JUNE 10, 1994)

The Diocese of Tanga was under the Apostolic Diocesan Administration between the leaderships of Bishops Mkude and Bishop Banzi. The Very Rev. Fr. Casmir Magwiza was appointed for this position which lasted for 14 months. Fr. Magwiza did this ministry diligently in guiding the faithful of the diocese to live their faith during this transitioning time. He brought all the faithful of the diocese to welcome their new bishop and be able to work with him.

D: MOST REV. BISHOP ANTHONY BANZI (1994 – PRESENT)

a). Election of Rev. Fr. Anthony Banzi

Bishop Anthony Banzi was appointed Bishop of Tanga on June 10, 1994 and was ordained a bishop of Tanga on September 15, 1994. He is a priest of the Diocese of Morogoro and prior to his election as the bishop of Tanga he was the Rector and professor of philosophy at Kibosho Major Seminary in Moshi. His principal consecrator was His Eminence Polycarp Cardinal Pengo, the Archbishop of Dar-Es-Salaam and principal co-consecrators were Archbishop Josephat Louis Lebulu who at that time was a bishop of the Diocese of Same (then Archbishop of Archdiocese of Arusha) and Bishop Telesphore Mkude, the bishop of Morogoro.

Bishop Anthony Banzi

b). Strong Leadership of Bishop Banzi

Bishop Banzi has provided the Diocese of Tanga with strong leadership as the diocese moved from the end of 20th Century and into the 21st Century. With great vigor he has supported pastoral activities throughout the diocese in many ways, forms and shapes.

c). Higher Education to the Diocesan Clergy

Bishop Banzi has championed in higher education of his diocesan priests. He has supported them in doing their high degree studies in international universities in various places in the world such as in Italy, Kenya, USA, Austria and Ireland. Because of this educational support, a number of Tanga Diocese priests are now ministering in all major seminaries in the country as well as at St. Augustine University of Tanzania (SAUT) both at the main campus in Mwanza and in its subsidiary colleges throughout the country.

d). Diocesan Pastoral Center

Bishop Banzi started the erection of the Diocesan Pastoral Center the project which was initiated by his predecessor Bishop Telesphore Mkude. The center now is housing a good number of diocesan offices including bishop’s office. The bishop also has supervised to the building of Pope John Paul II Center the project which continues to provide hospitality to visitors who come in the diocese. This building is so beautiful. It oversees the Indian Ocean. At the same time Bishop Banzi managed to build the new bishop’s house in Raskazone, which continues to provide great relief to the bishop who in hosting diocesan guests who visit the diocese. During his time, he was able to purchase the building next to his residence in Raskazone from Sisal Authority and turned it into a guesthouse for diocesan visitors. 

e). Diocesan Pastoral Calendar
 
Pastorally, Bishop Banzi has been able to create a diocesan event calendar which continues to be compass of pastoral activities in the diocese.

f). The Ministry of the Diocesan Native Sisters

Bishop Banzi has been a champion in integrating the ministry of the COLU sisters in the pastoral life of the diocese. He has always been there to support the vocation work in the diocese and supported the ministry of the COLU sisters in the diocese.

g). Ministry of the Missionary Groups in Tanga

Bishop Banzi has continued to support the ministry of Rosminian Fathers in the diocese. The Rosminian priests and brothers are now mostly native. They are part of the Tanga Diocese identity and they are very integral part in the work of evangelization. They are now staffing six of our diocesan parishes (Gare, Lushoto, Mombo, Kwalukonge, Kwai,and St. Peter-Saruji).  Bishop Banzi continues to support the ministry of the Benedictine Fathers in the Diocese who are now staffing two of our diocesan parishes in Mabughai and Soni.We continue to have the honor of the founding Congregation of Holy Ghost Fathers who have their Novitiate House in Magamba, Lushoto. At the same time Bishop Banzi has continued to support the ministry and the presence of the oldest missionaries in the diocese: The Precious Blood Sisters who operate various ministries in the Diocese mostly in Lushoto District. Bishop Banzi continues to support the vibrant ministry of Sister Karen, the Little Sister of St. Francis as she continues to minister to the Maasai population in Handeni Area.

New Religious communities have been invited to minister and establish themselves in Tanga Diocese. The bishop has invited the priests of Apostolic Life Community of Priests in the Opus Sancti Spiritus (ALCP/OSS) who are now staffing the parish in Kabuku. Bishop Banzi continues to support the diversity identity of the large church making the Diocese of Tanga both local and global. A number of new religious communities have come into Tanga and establish themselves as their home. We have Passionist Fathers and Brothers and IVREA Sisters in Zeneth area. We have Franciscan Capuchins in Mivumoni Pangani. We have Sisters of St.Gemma Galgani from Dodoma who are now opening their home at Chang’ombe Village in Segera/Hale area and Huruma ya Mungu Sisters are opening their subhouse in Mailikumi Korogwe. We have a community of sisters “Collegine Sisters of the Holy Family” who have a very vibrant ministry to the orphans and street children in Bombo Area in Tanga. Recently the new Missioanry Carmelite Sisters of St. Theresa of Child Jesus has started their presence in Lushoto.

h). Evangelization Through Technology

To respond to the needs of the evangelization, Bishop Banzi has been a proponent of the new technologies in evangelization. In his administration he has overseen the establishment of the Radio Huruma which is a powerful tool of evangelization throughout the diocese. At his great support, the diocese now is having its own website at www.dioceseoftanga.org which continues to connect the Diocese of Tanga to rest of the world. Bishop Banzi has appointed Rev. Fr. Richard Kimbwi to champion these efforts. Fr. Kimbwi has been sponsored to further his technological skills in Austria. It is the goal of the diocese to utilize up-to-moment technology to better evangelization of the Gospel in the diocese.

i). Ministry of Catechists in the Diocese

Bishop Banzi has continued to acknowledge the vital ministry of the lay catechists in the diocese from its distant past to our own days and in the future to come. He stresses clearly that the Church of Tanga and the church at large would have hard time to survive without the vital contribution of the ministry of catechists at all levels of the church operation. With this understanding, bishop Banzi has established a Diocesan Catechetical Department which oversees the formation of catechists in the diocese. This department is responsible to plan for the spiritual, intellectual, and social wellbeing of catechists in the diocese.

Bishop Banzi has pioneered to the establishment of the Diocesan Catechetical College in Mlingano Parish. Such a college was established in Kwai Parish back in the early 1960s during the leadership of Bishop Eugene Arthurs but it vanished shortly because of its poor buildings. This new College is going to officially open on March 2, 2013 with the solemn blessing by Bishop Banzi.

j). New Parishes in the Diocese

Since his administration in this diocese up to this year 2013, Bishop Banzi has elevated six outstations into full parish and three outstations into sub-parishes.  These six parishes are: Tekwa Parish (2001) from Sakharani Parish, Kwalukonge Parish (2003) from Mombo Parish,  Mkuzi Parish (2003)  from Kwai Parish,Mabughai Parish (2010) from Lushoto Parish,Amboni Parish (2011) from St. Anthony Cathedral Parish, and Mtindiro Parish (2011) from Muheza Parish. The three sub-parishes are Misozwe from Mlingano Parish, Mkalamo from Pangani Parish and Donge from St. Mathias Mulumba Parish. 

k). Ordination to Priesthood

Since 1994 to this year 2013 bishop Banzi has ordained 33 diocesan priests. It is this great blessing of workers in the vineyard which has allowed him to open new parishes, and new ministries. It is also the same blessing which has allowed him to send some of his priests for further studies and also be generous in supporting the ministry of the entire church of Tanzania in its nation-wide institutions both at SAUT and major seminaries.  

l). The First Bishop from the Natives of Tanga

The Administration of Bishop Banzi in Tanga has witnessed the historical event for the diocese to have one of its diocesan priests being elevated to the ministry of the bishop. On Saturday February 16, 2013 the Vatican appointed Rev. Fr. Titus Joseph Mdoe to be the Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Dar-Es-Salaam. The bishop-elect Titus Mdoe is the native of Gare Parish in Lushoto. He was ordained a priest of the diocese of Tanga on June 24, 1986. After his ordination he ministered as the assisting priests and then as the priest in-charge in several parishes of the Diocese. For a long time he held two vital diocesan offices for Vocations and for the Youths. Recently he graduated from St. Clara University in California, USA. When he returned back to the diocese from the USA he was sent to be a Bursar at Stella Maris University in Mtwara, Tanzania until his appointment to the ministry of the bishop.

1.PHASE ONE: 16TH CENTURY - 1947
THE EARLY YEARS OF EVANGELIZATION IN TANGA

2. PHASE TWO: 1948 - 1958
PREFECTURE OF TANGA: ROSMINIAN FATHERS IN EARLY YEARS

3. PHASE THREE: 1959 - 1969
DIOCESE OF TANGA: MOST REV. BISHOP EUGENE ARTHURS, I.C.