Tanzania: Samia Honours Pengo

PRESIDENT Samia Suluhu Hassan has awarded a certificate of recognition to Polycarp Cardinal Pengo, for his great work of advocating for peace and unity during 50 years anniversary of his priesthood services.

The certificate of recognition from the country's highest office was handed over by the Vice-President Dr Philip Mpango at an event to mark Cardinal Pengo's 50th Priesthood Golden Jubilee celebration at Msimbazi centre in Dar es Salaam, yesterday.

Delivering the President's message written in the certificate, Dr Mpango said Ms Samia was appreciative for Cardinal Pengo's efforts in strengthening spiritual parenting and the country's peace.

"I wish to congratulate you for commemorating 50 years of priestly services; the government recognises your efforts towards contributing to strengthening peace, unity and love as well as relationships among different faiths. The government will continue supporting your efforts" President Samia stated.

The President wished him a good health and longer life and appealed to Tanzanians and worshipers to continue remaining calm since the sixth phase government under her leadership continues implementing all key priority projects initiated by the late former President John Magufuli, as well as introducing new ones.

President Samia went on donating cash, whose amount was not unveiled, for supporting Cardinal Pengo's initiative to construct a church at Makulunge area in Bagamoyo

Meanwhile, Dr Mpango also used the platform to deliver his own message and congratulated Cardinal Pengo.

Delivering his speech, Dr Mpango said the duty of guiding a human being to follow God's teachings is always accompanied with a lot of challenges and troubles.

Therefore, in 50 years of his service Cardinal Pengo went through those troubles and challenges.

"You have been a link between the church and the government and you have been at the front line to condemn evil acts," the Vice-President said.

He urged all public servants to learn from Cardinal Pengo especially in areas of tolerance, sacrificing for others, carrying out their duties without giving up and with integrity, while acknowledging that God's grace is enough.

"My appeal to you (Cardinal Pengo) is that you should not get tired of praying for us, especially government leaders, so that we continue to deliver," he said; while also presenting a gift of Monstrance which he said will be used for carry the consecrated Eucharistic host for Eucharistic adoration or benediction of the people.

Earlier, President of the Episcopal Conference of Tanzania (TEC), Archbishop Gervas Nyaisonga said the TEC was also commending Cardinal Pengo for his priestly services for all those years during which, he contributed a lot to the operations of the TEC.

The Archbishop of Dar es Salaam Jude Thaddaeus Ruwa'ichi said the Tanzania's church joins Cardinal Pengo in celebrating his services, saying Cardinal Pengo is a gift from God.

He described Cardinal Pengo as a person with a great mind, humble and who sacrificed himself to serve God.

He said when studying in Moral Theology in Rome at the Pontifical Lateran University, Cardinal Pengo proved his brilliance and obtained a doctorate in 1977.

Giving a homily at the service, the Bishop of Diocese of Mpanda, Bishop Eusebius Nzigilwa said Cardinal Pengo faced myriads of storms and turbulences but was able to overcome them by praying for God's intervention.

He urged believers not to give up even when they face a severe storm in their lives, but to turn to God and He will calm them down just as Jesus calmed the storm at sea when the vessel was about to sink.

Prior to yesterday's celebrations, on Friday, the Catholic Bishops in Eastern Africa had, in their statement, acknowledged with appreciation the role Tanzania's Polycarp Cardinal Pengo has played in fostering pastoral solidarity in the region ahead of the Church leader's Priestly Golden Jubilee celebration.

The statement shared with ACI Africa, the Bishops under their collective forum of the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA) said since Cardinal Pengo became a member of the regional body, he remained "a recognised anchor of pastoral solidarity in the region, more especially when you became one of the patrons in February 1998."

Born in August 1944, Pengo was ordained a Priest for the Diocese of Sumbawanga fifty years ago, on 20 June 1971.

In January 1984, he was ordained a Bishop for Tanzania's Nachingwea Diocese, where he served for two years before he was transferred to the Diocese of Tunduru-Masasi.

Pope John Paul II appointed him Auxiliary Archbishop of Dar es Salaam in January 1990. Two years later, he succeeded the late Laurean Cardinal Rugambwa as the Archbishop of Dar es Salaam, who retired at the age of 80.

He was elevated to the rank of Cardinal in February 1998, and participated in the 2005 and 2013 conclaves that elected Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis, respectively.

He was at the helm of Dar es Salaam till August 2019 when he retired. He was succeeded by Archbishop Jude Thadaeus Ruwa'ichi.

"Apart from being a loving and caring shepherd, you never missed out from Executive Board and Plenary Assembly meetings except for good reasons such as health problems," the Catholic Bishops in Eastern Africa say in the statement signed by AMECEA Chairman, Bishop Charles Kasonde of Zambia's Solwezi Diocese.

The service was also attended by various religious leaders including Nuncio to Tanzania, Marek Solczyński, Archbishops from all seven metropolitans of the Catholic Church in Tanzania, bishops including TEC Secretary Dr Charles Kitima, Bishop Dr Alex Malasusa of Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania (ELCT), heads of organizations and all priests who working in the Archdiocese of Dar es Salaam and the sisters.

The government official who attended the event were the Chief of Defence Forces (CDF), Venance Mabeyo, Attorney General Dr Adelardus Kilangi, the judges of the high court, the retired Speaker Anna Makinda. The Archdiocese of Dar es salaam currently has 126 parishes and 12 elected parishes.

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