The Church of Tanzania which has a total number of 34 dioceses and expects to hold the 5th National Holy Childhood Congress on June 22-26, 2023. In these celebrations, the majority of participants are children who have not yet reached 14 years old, who will be approximately 4500, 700 animators, 41 diocesan PMS directors including their assistants, 30 religious’ sisters, some workers of Tanzania Episcopal Conference Secretariat (TEC), seminarians from different dioceses, Church Media Reporters and other Congress Facilitators. Manyom Bishops of Tanzania Episcopal Conference are expected to attend this Singular Event of the 5th National Congress of the Holy Childhood Society.
Besides, the major theme of this congress is "Communion and Environmental Care". it is in this theme that the participants of the congress will have the opportunity to understand more about the communion in the missionary apostolate and how is this aspect is important in the synodal process at present and the church which is continuing tomorrow that they may assimilate it in their own lives.
The second idea which will be taught is concerning to take care of the environment, our common home which have been entrusted to us by God to live in at the same time to protect, preserve and conserve it for the future generation.
The main goals of holding the congress is to unite children that though they are from different dioceses and historical background of Tanzania, belong in one Catholic Church of Tanzania and of the Universal Church, (our Lord Jesus Christ asked for in the gospel when he says; “Let them be united as we are united. (Ref. Jn 17:21-23), teaching them Christian values, witnessing their Christian life among other people (of other religions and Christians denominations), looking for Jesus friends, etc. The main topics which will be discussed under the above theme include (Child Protection, communion, environmental care, pontifical mission societies in general, the Children and the life of Sanctity – some lives of the saints which will be cited such as Sants- Dominic of Savio, St. Francis and Jacinta, St. Theresia of the Child Jesus ).
Other spiritual exercises which will be carried on includes celebration of the Holy Eucharist worshiping the Holy Eucharist, celebration of the Sacrament of Penance, Holy Mass and playing different games aimed at developing their talents.
On the other hand, the church wants to continue honoring the spirit of the founder of the Pontifical Mission Society of the Holy Childhood, Monsignor Charles De Forbin, who was eager to gather all the children and implant them with a missionary spirit based on the words of Jesus; "Let the little children come to me...” (Ref. Mt 19:14).
The fourth National Holy Childhood Congress was held in 2016 in the Archdiocese of Mwanza. The fifth National Holy Childhood Congress was scheduled to be held in Tabora but due to the Covid 19 Pandamic was held at metropolitan level and a few dioceses attended.
Written by Fr. Jovitus Mwijage, PMS National Director of Tanzania