ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS JOHN PAUL II
International Airport of Dar-es-Salaam (Tanzania)
Mtukufu Rais Ali Hassan Mwinyi,
1. These are my first words to you. This is my heartfelt wish and my ardent
prayer for all Tanzanians, and I am happy to express these sentiments of
friendship and good will in the words of your stirring National Anthem. Every
day, in every corner of this vast country, your patriotic song extols both your
spirituality and your national unity, your faith in God and your love of
Ninayo furaha na upendo mwingi kufika hapa nchini na kuwa pamoja nanyi.
Mr President of the United Republic of Tanzania: the invitation to visit Tanzania which I received from Your Excellency and from the Bishops’ Conference found an immediate response in my heart, and I have long looked forward to this meeting with the great Tanzanian family. I thank you, Mr President, for your kind words of welcome, in which all can perceive that sense of brotherhood and universal solidarity - the Ujamaa of Tanzania– which are among the principles on which this independent African Nation was built under the leadership of its first President, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere.
I extend warm greetings to all who have come here to welcome me with characteristic Tanzanian hospitality: His Excellency the President of Zanzibar, His Eminence Cardinal Laurean Rugambwa, Honourable Members of the Government, my Brother Bishops, leaders and citizens of Tanzania. While I shall be visiting many parts of the mainland in the coming days, it has not been possible to include a visit to the Islands. I would ask His Excellency the President of Zanzibar kindly to convey my sentiments of esteem and friendship to his fellow citizens.
2. Tanzania is a beautiful land of forested mountains, rich savanna, attractive lakes and tropical coastline; a land which boasts of man’s presence since the very dawn of human history; a land whose geographical location led it to be visited by travellers from many of the great and farflung civilizations of the past. History, however, has not always been kind to its people and many problems remain to be solved. Against this background, independent Tanzania has made resolute efforts to attain an ever higher degree of development and social harmony and to occupy a place of leadership among the nations of this Continent. May God bless the efforts of all those who have the good of this country and its people at heart, and who work wisely and willingly for the common good.
3. My visit to Tanzania is above all a pastoral Visit of the Bishop of Rome, the Successor of Saint Peter, to the Church in this land. It is a young Church– whose first Tanzanian-born bishop is here among us in the person of Cardinal Rugambwa. Today, all of the hierarchy are proud sons of this country, and my brothers and sisters of the Catholic faith are generous and loyal citizens who contribute significantly to the well-being and integral development of their nation. My fervent desire is to pray with them, to share the joy of the Eucharist with them, and to confirm them in their faithfulness to God and their service to their fellow human beings according to the spirit of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I have come to Tanzania as a friend of all its people - as a fellow traveller on the road of understanding and peace for the whole human family. In a special way I wish to be a pilgrim of peace among the followers of different religious traditions. I am confident that good relations will increase and flourish among Tanzanian Christians, and between Christians and those of the Islamic faith, as well as with men and women of good will everywhere.
4. I have come as a friend of Africa – as one who has the future of this Continent very much at heart. It is clear that Africa has immense human and natural resources for a progressive and widespread growth towards greater material, cultural and social well-being. Africa has the wisdom of its own traditions and the lessons of experience to guide that development in ways that safeguard the religious and communal sensibilities of its peoples. But Africa is also affected by many of the negative factors which, to speak in general terms, are characteristic of what has been called the "South", in contrast with the economically dominant "North".
On numerous occasions I have raised my voice to appeal to the consciences of the more developed nations not to neglect their moral and humanitarian duties towards the developing nations. I have also expressed the hope that the changes which have recently taken place on the world scene will steer nations away from the costly competition of the arms race towards greater assistance to the more needy peoples of the world. Thus far this reorientation of resources has been slow in coming, and new tensions have arisen which place obstacles in the way of peace. Africa, therefore, is increasingly called to find its own model of development, in which there will be room for the rich variety of its peoples, each with its own traditions and legitimate aspirations. May God inspire Africa’s leaders to work to consolidate the structures of good management and social harmony which are fundamental for development and growth. Mungu ibariki Africa (May God bless Africa).
5. Dear Mr President, dear Friends: the Church and the political community have different spheres of action and are mutually independent, but they serve the same human beings (Cfr. Gaudium et Spes, 76). It is indeed heartening to know that in Tanzania there is ample cooperation in many fields. The future lies along the path of solidarity among all Tanzania’s people as they work side by side for the common good. My prayer for you today is that faith in God will help you overcome all obstacles and be an incentive for you to go forward in peace and harmony with each other and with all peoples, in love and dedicated service of your beautiful country.
Mungu ibariki Tanzania.
Dumisha Uhuru na Umoja.
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