Former Tanzanian President Julius Nyerre may not have lived a saintly life, but some elements of sainthood did manifest in his life, says Tanzanian Catholic priest/scholar, Rev. Dr. Fr. Laurent Magesa.
"This is why the Catholic Church in Tanzanian has decided to forward his name to the Vatican for possible consideration for canonization," said Dr. Magesa, an ordained diocesan priest for the Diocese of Musoma, Tanzania.
Speaking at a special prayer service for the soul of the late President Nyerere, held at Nairobi's Holy Family Minor Basilica on October 16, Dr. Magesa urged Catholics to offer serious prayers for the soul of the late President Nyerere.
The Vatican has already declared the late President Nyerere a Servant of God.
"At this juncture, much is expected from us in terms of prayers and sharing whatever we know, witnessed and experienced on the life of the late Mwalimu Julius Nyerere," he added as he addressed a huge congregation, mainly Tanzanian Catholics-priests, religious and laity, residing in Nairobi and its environs.
"And this does not have to be positive, exclusively. Even the negative things you might have come across on the late Nyerere are equally welcome for the exercise ahead of us," added the Tanzanian clergyman.
"The man we are talking about was not an "angel." He was subject to the human weaknesses we all know about, he added.
"But having said that, it is well known that the late President Nyerere stood out on certain matters of principal and goodness in major areas such as family, leadership and religious commitment," emphasized the Tanzanian clergyman.
"This is what we shall be zeroing in on as we participate in the exercise ahead of us," he pointed out as he explained the community participation in the canonization process.
He said both Nyerere and Kenyan cardinal Maurice Otunga were at par on the canonization process as both of them have been declared as Servants of God by the Vatican.
"At this juncture, it is a question of offering serious prayers as well as making active participation in terms of offering information one may have on the two as part of effective facilitation of the process of canonization," he explained to the attentive congregation.
The Nairobi special prayer service was organized by Farijika Kenya for family ministries, a Catholic Church organization aimed at promoting better family, better Church and better nation. It is coordinated by Tanzanian Catholic priest, Fr. Baptiste Regina Mapunda as its director.