ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS JOHN PAUL II
Cathedral of Christ the King, Moshi
Mhashamu Askofu Amedeus Msarikie,
1. It is with great joy and anticipation that I greet all of you - the clergy, religious and laity of Moshi - as I begin my visit to your diocese this evening. My cordial greetings also go to the Catholics from other dioceses, and to all people of good will who join us on this happy occasion.
The sentiments that fill my heart in this Cathedral are those of the Psalmist: "Kwa ajili ya ndugu zangu na rafiki zangu niseme sasa, 'Amani ikae nawe'. Kwa ajili ya nyumba ya Bwana, Mungu wetu, nikuombee mema".
("For love of my brethren and friends I say: 'Peace upon you!' For love of the house of the Lord I will ask for your good") (Ps 121 (120), 8-9).
The one who first wrote these verses was filled with love for the earthly Jerusalem and its holy Temple, but this evening our love is directed to the new Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God (Cfr. Apoc. 21, 10), the "spiritual house" made of "living stones" (Cfr. 1Petr. 2, 5), the Church. In particular, our thoughts turn to that portion of the Church which is in this region of Tanzania.
2. As the Mother Church of the Diocese of Moshi, this Cathedral stands as a symbol of your spiritual membership in God’s family. The liturgies which are celebrated here and in the other Churches of the diocese are a share in "that heavenly liturgy which is celebrated in the holy city of Jerusalem towards which we journey as pilgrims" (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 8). They remind us that our spiritual communion is not limited to this earth. The Saints in heaven, with Mary the Mother of the Redeemer, intercede for the life and mission of the Church on earth. In the words of the Letter to the Hebrews: "With so many witnesses in a great cloud on every side of us, we... should... keep running steadily in the race we have started, without losing sight of Jesus, who leads us in our faith and brings it to perfection" (Hebr. 12, 1-2).
The Liturgy is also a living sign and celebration of the visible unity which draws you together and joins you with Catholics everywhere, in and through the ministry of the Pope and of the bishops, the Successors of the Apostles, and of the priests, their collaborators. But by faith you also recognize in the sacred rites the unseen foundation of this external unity, namely, your communion with Christ the Head, who unites all his members in one Body. I pray that every time you join your bishop around this altar, the Holy Spirit will deepen your appreciation of ecclesial communion, so that the Church in Moshi will always preach the Gospel in unity, charity and peace.
3. Your Cathedral calls attention as well to another aspect of the Good News of the kingdom. It is named after Christ the King, to whose patronage the entire local Church of Moshi is dedicated. During His Passion Jesus told Pilate, "Mine is not a kingdom of this world" (Io. 18, 36); and when questioned further, He said: "Yes, I am a king. I was born for this, I came into the world for this: to bear witness to the truth; and all who are on the side of truth listen to My voice" (Ibid. 18, 37). Christ teaches us that His kingdom - which is mysteriously present in the world, yet not of the world - is a kingdom of truth. For a century now, the truth about God and man - revealed in the "perfect man" Jesus Christ (Cfr. Gaudium et Spes, 22) - has been at work among you: in people’s hearts, minds and souls, in their daily lives and culture.
I invite all of you, dear Brothers and Sisters, to deepen the Christian faith which you have received. Allow the truth of the Gospel to continue to purify and transform your way of life and your customs, so that they will become ever more perfectly Christian and thus enable you to become more effective witnesses to God’s kingdom of unity and truth. Unity in the truth: this is an important sign of the Church’s credibility as the instrument of salvation for the human race. I rejoice with you that these divine gifts have taken root in Moshi and I join you in praying for an ever greater harvest of holiness and faith among all the people of this land.
4. I am happy that my visit offers the occasion for the dedication of the new Diocesan Pastoral Centre, which has been built for a more effective service of the ecclesial community in this region. When we consider the size and vitality of that community after a century of often arduous labour, we cannot but be filled with praise of God and gratitude to the missionaries who left family and country out of love for Christ and eagerness to bring His "message of eternal life" (Io. 6, 68) to you, the beloved people of this land. Nor can we fail to thank God for the wholehearted acceptance which you and your forebears have given to the Good News of salvation in response to the abundant outpouring of divine grace which has taken place here.
The pilgrim Church that is in Tanzania is not and cannot be a community closed within itself. I am confident that in the true Catholic spirit, all the Church’s members will do their utmost to build up the national community, supporting the aspirations to peace and development of the entire Tanzanian people. I pray that God will assist you in the challenges you face. "For love of my brethren and friends I say 'Peace upon you!’ For love of the house of the Lord I will ask for your good" (Ps. 121 (120), 8-9). May Christ the King hear my prayer for you all!
Mungu awajalie neema na baraka zake. Amina.
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