Brief Description of the Catholic Archdiocese Arusha
The Catholic Diocese of Arusha was established on March 1, 1963 after the Catholic Diocese Moshi had been divided. It was officially registered as the Board of Trustees of the Catholic Diocese Arusha on June 17, 1965. On March 16, 1999, the diocese was elevated to the status of Archdiocese and then became the Catholic Archdiocese of Arusha. It was officially registered as the Board of Trustees of the Catholic Archdiocese of Arusha on 22 July 2002 as well as with the Ministry of Internal Affairs as an Association (Congregation of Christian faithful) under the number SO No. 8848. The main Office of the Archdiocese is located in the St Teresa of the Child Jesus Parish premises where the Cathedral Church is being accomplished for the time-being.
The Catholic Archdiocese of Arusha is spread over the entire region of Arusha and two administrative districts of Manyara Region in the north-eastern Tanzania. The Archdiocese is named after the City of Arusha which is located at the foot of Mount Meru the second highest mountain after Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.
The Catholic Archdiocese of Arusha is the biggest of all Dioceses in Tanzania with an area of about 67,340 square kilometers. It extends southwards through the Maasai Steppes to Kiteto (a district in Manyara Region), bordering the Catholic Dioceses of Morogoro and Kondoa and to the westwards through Monduli towards the Ngorongoro Valley through Olduvai Gorge, crossing the Serengeti steppes and bordering the Catholic Dioceses of Musoma and Shinyanga. It stretches towards north-west to Loliondo on the border with the Catholic Diocese of Ngong in Kenya and to the southeast bordering the Catholic Dioceses of Moshi, Same and Tanga.
There are several ethnic groups in the Catholic Archdiocese of Arusha. The main groups are: Maasai, Arusha, Meru, Pare, Chagga, Sonjo and Iraqw. Due to the prosperity of business in tourism, mines and other similar businesses as well being the headquarters of the East African Community, there are other ethnic groups from various areas in and out of the country. Kiswahili is spoken throughout East Community as the communication language while English is used as an international language and in business.
Historically, evangelization in the Catholic Archdiocese of Arusha began in 1926 when the Holy Ghost Fathers (Priests) from the Vicariate of Kilimanjaro opened an apostolic center in a place called “Mesopotamia” where the main Parish of the Archdiocese, St. Theresa of the Child Jesus is situated. In 1939 the Holy Ghost Frs. opened other missions at Usa River and Monduli in 1953. In 1961 other missions were opened at Emboreet, Simanjiro and Kijungu in 1962. These mission centers formed the Diocese of Arusha in 1963 and recognized ecclesiastically under the leadership of a Spiritan priest from America, who was the founder of Loliondo Mission Center and the first bishop of Arusha in 1963 Late Bishop Dennis Vincent Durning CSSp.
The Archdiocese leadership since its inauguration
Since its establishment, the Catholic Archdiocese of Arusha has been under the following bishops:-
i) 1 March 1963 – 6 March 1989: Rt. Rev. Dennis Vincent Durning, C.S.Sp.
ii) 6 March 1989 – 20 July 1998: Rt. Rev. Fortunatus M. Lukanima
iii) 28 November 1998 – 27 December 2017: Most Rev. Josaphat Louis Lebulu
iv) 27 December 2017 to date : Most Rev. Isaac Amani.
The performance of the Catholic Archdiocese Achievements
The Catholic Archdiocese of Arusha is proud to have about 537,613 baptized Catholic Christians, 391 priests and religious
Since its establishment, the Catholic Archdiocese of Arusha has witnessed several successes, including increase in the number of Catholics, and so far they have reached 537,613, which is 31.7% of all residents of the Arusha Region, which has 1,694,310 residents according to the 2012 census.
Signs of the achievements in the Archdiocese Arusha.
At this time, the Archdiocese offers several social facilities including Education, Health, Clean and Safe water and other services for the needy. All these services contribute to a large part in the growth of the Tanzanian society from the spiritual, social and economic point of views.
The Archdiocese has established and maintained good working relations between the community and other stakeholders.
From the viewpoints of services and needs, the Archdiocese is recognized by the government, beneficiaries, development partners and all those with good will in serving the beneficiaries and those in condition of essential needs.