Pope Francis on Monday, May 3, appointed Bishop Lazarus Vitalis Msimbe SDS the new Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Morogoro, Tanzania.
Msgr. Msimbe becomes the first Salvatorian Missionary originally from Morogoro to become the bishop of the Diocese and the Salvatorian family in Tanzania joins the Diocese in thanking God for this appointment.
On his part, the Bishop-elect thanked God for the gift of his vocation. He also thanked his parents for the Christian upbringing which became the source of his priestly vocation.
The Bishop-elect was born on December 27, 1963 in the village of Homboza Mlali Parish in Morogoro region, the last born into a family of five children. His father, Vitalis Shomari Mkamate, died four months before the Bishop-elect had joined the Religious life while his mother Fransisca Pascal died barely three months after he was ordained a priest.
Speaking to AMECEA Online correspondent, Bishop-elect Msimbe said the journey of his calling as a Christian and his vocation to the priesthood were much motivated by his mother who encouraged him to serve in the church since his childhood. He said that his parents loved the Church while his grandfather Pascal Makeng’e was a catechist who loved to teach Religion.
According to his testimony, his grandfather was sent by missionaries from Mgeta as a catechist to teach religion in the village of Homboza where the Bishop Elect Msimbe was born.
“I think this brought some seeds to my family and I firmly believe the origin of my vocation is our grandfather who was sent by the missionaries as the first catechist to teach catechism in the villages,” he said.
He also explained that since his adolescence, he consulted his mother about his desire of becoming a priest but his mother questioned him as to whether he could manage to live up to the priestly rule of life.
His vocation, says Msgr. Msimbe, was also stimulated whenever he saw a priest presiding mass. “Whenever I heard a priest sing, my heart was flowing with joy, longing that one day I should become a priest,” he said.
After completing primary school education, he desired to join St. Peters Minor Seminary but he was not elected.
“I was much disappointed because my vocation was burning. Priesthood desire couldn’t allow me to wait until next year, so I decided to join the Salvatorian in Tunduru Masasi at St. Joseph’s house.”
While at the seminary, he loved playing football as well as singing in the choir. He also learned how to play the piano after being impressed by a friend who was a piano expert at the seminary. He explained that as a young boy, he also loved playing soccer, hunting birds and singing in the choir.
Until his appointment, Bishop-elect Msimbe served as Apostolic Administrator of Morogoro Catholic Diocese after Bishop Telesphore Mkude retired 0n December 30, 2020.
Morogoro Diocese is in the eastern region of Tanzania, under Dar es Salaam Archdiocese. Archbishop Jude Thadeus Ruwa’ichi OFM Cap , the Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Dar es Salaam congratulate Bishop-elect Msimbe for his new appointment, asking him to put his trust in the Holy Spirit who will assist him to lead the Diocese of Morogoro.
“I want to assure you that we are with you in your mission. As for you the diocesan priests and organizations, please accept the Bishop-elect and give him the required cooperation in this diocese,” said Archbishop Ruwa’ichi.