Our History

Augustinians Tanzania
Our History
The History of Augustinians in Tanzania Starts On November 3, 1977, Agustín Pérez O.S.A. and Vitalino Malagón O.S.A. with the arrival of two Augustinians from the Province of the Holy Name of Jesus – the «Philippines Province».(This province is based in Spain. It was originally established there in 1575 to send Spanish members of the Order to the missions in Asia, including the Philippines). These priests took charge of the Parish of Mahanje, Tanzania
The primary purpose of the Augustinian presence in Tanzania was evangelization and the pastoral care of Christians, thereby lending missionary service to the Church of Tanzania.Today, the Augustinians are located in three areas of Tanzania: Mahanje, Morogoro and Dar es Salaam.

The number of Tanzanian Augustinians is growing. Everyone is looking toward the future with hope, conscious that – as with the apostles – the Risen Christ goes before you to Galilee.» (Blas Sierra de la Calle O.S.A.).
«The soul of the mission during the first period were two pioneer priests, Agustín Pérez O.S.A. and Vitalino Malagón O.S.A..
Beginning in 1988 and arriving at different times were the seven Augustinians, Fructuoso de Castro, Javier Antolin, Pedro Rubio Bardón, Javier Gimeno, Antonio L. Narro, Antonio J. Collado and the Peruvian by origin, but affiliated to the Philippine Province, and Jorge Dulanto.

Although our Augustinian presence has always been small, we have divided among ourselves the various tasks: the pastoral care of the areas of Mahanje, Madaba, Nkongotema and Rutukira, over many years.
And recently also in Dar es Salaam; formative tasks first in the Vocational centre and at the Novitiate in Mahanje and after the novices, philosophy and theology in Morogoro.
There is also the ministry of social justice and care of the poor people, etc., besides the responsibility of community building, administrative work and the search for means of subsistence in land and a farm…»
«Today the Augustinian Order is growing in Tanzania. There is great hope. Each year there are a number of young people who – having finished their high schoolstudies
– pursue an Augustinian vocation.» (Teodomiro González Olea O.S.A.)
As well as continuing to serve there, Augustinians now have two additional Augustinian communities at Morogoro and Dar es Salaam.

Mahanje is situated in the south of Tanzania. It is 135 kilometres from Songea, the main city of the region, and about 900 kilometres from Dar es Salaam, the national capital.

Mahanje is in a mountainous zone, with areas between 800 and 1,400 metres in altitude. Its tropical climate has only two seasons a year: six months of rain and six months of drought.
The Parish of Mahanje was assigned to the Augustinians on 3rd November 1977.
It covers an area that extends for forty kilometres, and includes three other dependent areas: Madaba, Nkongotema and Rutukira. The area contains 15,000 people, of whom 10,000 are Catholic.
Stephano Msomba O.S.A. was ordained to the priesthood in Mahanje on 24th July 2003. He studied theology at the Salvatorian Institute at Morogoro, Tanzania. He has been assigned to the Muvurunza parish in Dar es Salaam.

The population is broadly distributed in small village communities that survive almost exclusively on subsistence farming (i.e., the people have to survive on whatever they can grow.)
Schooling is not generally available in the area, with a few primary schools but no secondary school.
Since 1978 Augustinian Missionary Sisters have given invaluable assistance at Mahanje by conducting a large medical dispensary, which is owned by the local Archdiocese of Songea.
The dispensary each year assists 35,000 outpatients, mainly women and children.
Morogoro is a district capital situated seventy five kilometres east of Dar es Salaam.
It is the industrial centre of Tanzania, and in 2003 has a population of 246,000.
Saint Augustine’s House was established in Morogoro in 1996.

It is here that Tanzanians seeking admission to the Augustinian Order live, pray and study both philosophy and theology on the way to priesthood.
There are over twenty philosophy students , novices and postulants.(In 2003 there were three Augustinian novices and thirteen philosophy students who will become novices.)
Dar es Salaam
On 16th January 2001 the cardinal archbishop of Dar es Salaam handed the Augustinians the care of the Parish of the Immaculate Conception in Mavurunza.

In 2006, Faustin Mlelwa O.S.A. is the parish priest of priest of Mavurunza in Dar Es Salaam, and Prior (superior) of its Augustinian community. Also in Das es Salaam is Fr Pedro Rubio O.S.A.

The people there are mainly «internal immigrants» who were attracted from other parts of Tanzania in search for employment in this industrial region.

Pedro Rubio Berdon O.S.A. has served in Tanzania for a number of years. He said, «We have a number of dreams as we look towards the future: the construction of a number of schools , churches and youth centres.»
By 2004, there were three Tanzanian-born Augustinian priests.

One of his predecessors, Kosmas Asenga O.S.A., studied postgraduate dogmatic theology in Spain, and is now teaching in Tanzania.
Thobias Amuko O.S.A., Zakaria Kassinge O.S.A. and Erasto Nyoni O.S.A. were ordained priests by Cardinal Pengo, Archbishop of Dar es Salaam, on 18th June 2005.

Their ordination took place in the Augustinian Parochial Church of Mavurunza.
Among the numerous guests were their Provincial, Luis Rodriguez O.S.A., accompanied by his Secretary, Marcelino Esteban O.S.A. and the Provincial Econome, Adolfo Guerra O.S.A. With their ordination, the number of Augustinian Tanzanian priests reaches double digits for the first time: ten, and going higher!
In mid-2005 four young men from Tanzania joined the International Novitiate at Intramuros, Manila, Philippines.
Three newly-professed brothers have come back from there to continue their theology, and seven new postulants have joined first year philosophy at Morogoro, Tanzania.

As of July 2006 a Tanzanian-born Augustinian has been the regional superior of the Augustinians in Tanzania, until which time the superiors had all been Spanish. He is Kosmas Asenga O.S.A.

His official counsellors are Faustin Mlelwa O.S.A. (ordained in 1996), Pedro Rubio O.S.A. and Erastus Mgani O.S.A.

Three more Tanzanian Augustinians – Edgar, Urick and Xavier – were ordained deacons at Morogoro on 28th October 2006 by the bishop of the local diocese, Mons. Telesphore Mkude.

Construction projects

All three Augustinian houses in Tanzania during early 2006 began building new and bigger churches to provide a better pastoral service to the people entrusted to their care.

Among these, Morogoro has just initiated a new Church in Kilakale, a sector under the pastoral care of our Formation House there.

Upon the invitation of the Archbishop of Mwanza – the second biggest city of Tanzania, on the borders of Lake Victoria -, the Augustinians in mid-2006 accepted a new parish. It is in the district of Nyegesi, and lies on the outskirts of Mwanza.

Aside from extending the pastoral fields in this manner, the idea is to build a novitiate house there sometime in the future.

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