Last month a party of Tanzanian Carmelites visited the General Curia in Rome. Members of the General Commissariat of ‘Santa Maria La Bruna’, who live and minister in Dar es Salaam, the largest city in East Africa, travelled to Italy to be present for the Chapter of the Commissariat which was held at Carmine Maggiore in Naples.

The History of Carmelites in Tanzania

Tanzanian Carmelites have strong ties with Italy, and with Naples itself, as it was through the General Commissariat of the city that the mission in Tanzania was founded in 2009. The archbishop of Dar es Salaam of the time, Cardinal Polycarp Pengo, offered the Carmelites the parish of Bunju. His hope was that it would someday become a Marian centre for the diocese. Once founded, the General Commissariat set about building a priory for the new community. The parish, Our Lady of Mount Carmel was created in 2012 and there are currently 8 Tanzanian friars in addition to several students and aspirants. The largest project to date is the building of a large church which will accommodate around 2200 people.

Outreach in the Community

The parish of Bunju is situated in a bustling metropolitan area. This location allows the Carmelite friars to work alongside the Muslim community based in the area through outreach efforts such as helping the poor and providing food to those in need. “People appreciate our services and praise our Virgin Mary and are grateful for our presence. We pray that Our Lady of the Mount Camel may continue to protect us with her mantle,” says Victor Biramata, a member of the founding community.