St. Vincent Pallotti Parish, Esso, Arusha, Tanzania.
Friday January 22nd, the feast day of St. Vincent Pallotti, was a very special day for the parish community at Esso and for the Pallottines in East Africa. That day marked a culmination of a vision and years of hard work, effort and collaboration of countless persons in the parish of St. Vincent Pallotti. At 4pm the auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Arusha, Monsignor Prosper Lyimo, placed the relic of St. Vincent Pallotti into the newly constructed main altar and sealed it, this ceremony took place as part of a ceremony of sung Evening Prayer which was attended by those of the parish community who could be present and the Pallottines and the Sisters of the Congregation Daughters of the Sacred Heart.
The following morning, Saturday January 23rd , dawned bright and sunny and the parish community came out in strength to participate in the solemn consecration of the parish church and its official opening. Monsignor Lyimo was due to officiate at this event but had succumbed to a bad dose of laryngitis and the Archbishop of Arusha, Monsignor Josaphat Lebulu, came in his stead. The parish community attended in their thousands, all brightly decked out in white and yellow tee-shirts specially commissioned for the occasion. The ceremony was reverent, joyful and celebratory as befitted an 11 year history in the parish. It was a celebration of the vibrancy of the faith of the Catholics in Esso, a celebration of the commitment of the Pallottines who served there and facilitated the development, it was also a celebration of the many volunteers and contributors who in one way or another took part in the building up of this impressive community life and faith centre. The procession halted at the door of the church, Archbishop Lebulu blessed the doors and the pillars, the ribbon was cut and the door formally opened. He then anointed the altar with oil, blessed the baptismal font, blessed the church walls and the congregation gathered for the event. Suffice it to say that the ceremony started at 10am and concluded at 2.15pm; the four hour Eucharistic celebration was filled with song, dance, prayer, readings and reflections.
The Pallottines were first invited to minister to the Catholics in this disadvantaged area of the city of Arusha in 2004. Fr. Noel O’Connor was the first Pallottine to work here, he was joined by Fr. Michael O’Sullivan and while Noel was also Novice Master the novitiate was also held here, Frs. Paul Makita, Boniface Muro and Martin Mtai were novices then, along with Paul O’Callaghan from Dublin. Fr. Andrew Kayhumbya joined Fr. Michael and they worked together for a number of years. Fr. Reginald Kimathi is the current parish priest and his assistant is the recently ordained Fr. Simon Sserufambi .