The Diocese of Kigoma is in the west of Tanzania, close to the border with Burundi. In 2020, the diocese established the new parish of Kumsenga. The parish is very large. The seven outstations are up to 35 km from the parish centre. And sometimes the parish priest, Father Michael Daniel also must travel to meetings in the diocesan centre in Kigoma – a distance of over 220 km from his parish.

Fr. Michael on his way to the outstations. (Credit: Aid to the Church in Need)

Father Michael 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. When this happens, Father Michael finds himself wading on foot through roads that have become little more than mudslides. 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.

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 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 then also visit the schools in the parish and give religious instruction as well as visit the sick and elderly and bring 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 for our help and is praying fervently that we will be able to help his priest with a pastoral vehicle.