At Itigi, there are six Precious Blood priests and one brother serving the hospital and parish. The hospital has over 300 beds, including 150 beds in the pediatric unit. The parish is extensive with more than 20 “out stations” some at a considerable distance from Itigi. The Mass on Sunday morning at 7:00 am was a celebration that lasted more than two hours with a wonderful choir leading us! The clapping, singing, and dancing was quite a contrast to most 7 am Sunday Masses I’ve attended in the States!
We also visited Manyoni over the weekend. This was the first parish served by the Precious missionaries when they came from Italy in the early 1960s. We also spent considerable time in Dodoma visiting the vocation center and the Merlini Initial Formation house. I was able to see several of the students who made retreat the week before.
While in Dodoma, I wanted to visit the water project and Fr. Tim Coday. As you know, Tim was a member of the Kansas City Province when he first came to Tanzania in 1984. He has since transferred to the Atlantic Province which sponsors the water project. Fr Tim is doing well and sends his greetings to all his friends in the Kansas Cit Province.
Also in Dodoma, we visited the headquarters of the Tanzanian Vicariate, the radio station the community operates, and the new St. Gaspar Hotel and Conference Center.
I also want to mention we visited another parish mission in Chibagmawa that has 17 out stations served by two missionaries. Fr. Deusdedit Mulokozi is the pastor. Three weeks ago the clinic in the village was closed and the village is devastated. It is still open as a dispensary with a doctor coming from Itigi during the week to see patients. Fr. Tim Coday was pastor here in the 1990s and he told me there were more than a 100 babies born at the clinic each month. But, unfortunately the cost of keeping the full-service clinic open was prohibitive.
I will have much more on this trip to Tanzania in the New Wine Press. For now, thank you for your prayers. The retreats are going well and I am learning a great deal from our missionaries here. Take good care!
Fr. Joe Nassal, C.PP.S.