The diocese of Kigoma lies in western Tanzania on the border with Burundi. In 2020 the new parish of Kumsenga was established here. It covers a very large area, with seven outstations ranging from 8 to 22 miles (12 to 35 km) in distance from the parish centre. And sometimes the parish priest, Father Michael Daniel also has to travel to meetings in the diocesan Centre in Kigoma – a distance of over 150 miles (220 km) from his parish.
However, there is a major problem in that he has no car. For some of his journeys he can hire a moped, but the roads are extremely poor and in the rainy season virtually impassable. In which case Father Michael can find himself wading on foot through roads that have become little more than mudslides. Moreover, on longer cross-country journeys there is a real risk of being attacked and ambushed by criminal gangs who make a special point of attacking vulnerable riders on mopeds.
Consequently, a car would be more than merely useful, not to say essential. Not only so that he can more quickly and safely reach the various outstations where the faithful are waiting for him, but also because in any case there are few other means of transport in this region when emergencies arise and there is a need to ferry sick people or expectant mothers to the nearest hospital, which is some distance away. In such cases the priest‘s car can double as an improvised ambulance and actually save lives.
But above all, such a vehicle would greatly facilitate the pastoral care of the Catholic faithful in the parish. And Father Michael could hen also visit the schools in the parish and give religious instruction as well as visiting the sick and elderly and bringing them the sacraments, intensifying the instruction of those preparing for baptism and above all celebrating Holy Mass more frequently in the various different outstations.
His bishop is very keen for Father Michael to be able to reach out pastorally to the Catholic faithful. He has asked our help and is praying fervently that we will be able to help his priest with a pastoral vehicle. We certainly won‘t let him down, and in fact we have already promised him a robust all-terrain vehicle.