Pope Francis Lauds Tanzanian Bishop Marking Golden Jubilee as Priest for Selfless Service

Poster on the Golden Jubilee of Priesthood of Bishop Method Kilaini, marked on 19 March 2022. Credit: Courtesy Photo

Pope Francis has acknowledged with appreciation the selfless service offered by the Auxiliary Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Bukoba in Tanzania as the Bishop celebrates 50 years since he was ordained a Priest.  

Bishop Method Kilaini celebrated his golden jubilee on Saturday, March 19 at Mater Misericordiae Cathedral of Bukoba Diocese.

“To the titular Bishop of Tamalluma and the Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Bukoba. When you celebrate your golden jubilee since you were ordained to the sacred priesthood in the Diocese of your birth, Bukoba, you, our brother, are close and unique in this sacred ministry,” Pope Francis says in a message that was read out during the March 19 event by Archbishop Gervas Nyaisonga, the Local Ordinary of Tanzania’s Mbeya Archdiocese.

The Holy Father adds in reference to Bishop Kilaini, “You have devoted yourself selflessly to serving God in the sacred priesthood and as a Bishop.”

“You have served with great effort as the faithful can testify,” Pope Francis continues in his message to Bishop Kilaini that was read out by the Archbishop of Mbeya who doubles as the President of the Tanzania Episcopal Conference (TEC).


The Holy Father says he prays for the Tanzanian Bishop who will turn 74 on March 30 and extends his blessings to him saying, “I pray for God’s protection and we wish you all the best. I give my apostolic blessings. May you continue the apostolic task given to you.”

Born on 30 March 1948, Bishop Kilaini was ordained a Priest for the Diocese of Bukoba on 18 March 1972. 

Bishop Method Kilaini. Credit: Tanzania Episcopal Conference (TEC)

In December 1999, he was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Dar-es-Salaam and assigned the Titular See of Strumnitza.

He was transferred to the Diocese of Bukoba as Auxiliary Bishop in December 2009.

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In October 2018, he was assigned the Titular See of Tamalluma following the suppression of the Titular See of Strumnitza.

In his message to Bishop Kilaini on the occasion of his Golden Jubilee of Priesthood, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, said he “recognizes and appreciates” the Tanzanian Bishop’s apostolate.

Cardinal Tagle, whose message was read by Archbishop Nyaisonga during the March 19 celebration, assured Bishop Kilaini of his prayers, adding that a jubilee can be an occasion where one remembers the challenges they have surmounted. 

Cardinal Tagle encouraged Bishop Kilaini to always have a grateful heart. 

In an interview with TEC posted on YouTube March 11, Bishop Kilaini recalled some of the challenging experiences since he was ordained a Catholic Priest, including a grisly road accident, a stroke, and the hijacking of the plane he was traveling in.


Meanwhile, in his message for Bishop Kilaini, the Tanzanian-born Apostolic Nuncio in New Zealand Archbishop Novatus Rugambwa, said he has seen in his compatriot Catholic Church leader a role model. 

Having been a student of Bishop Kilaini, Archbishop Rugambwa said the Bishop had taught him “how one should give himself to God with all the brilliance and generosity.” 

“I pray that God, through mother Mary, may help Bishop Kilaini to continue being a good example to all,” Archbishop Rugambwa implored.

Speaking during the March 19 celebration that brought together Catholic Bishops, members of the Clergy, women and men Religious, and the Laity as well as Tanzania’s Vice President, Bishop Kilaini said Priesthood “has been a great joy despite the challenges because Christ gives me the energy.” 

Tanzania Vice President, Dr Philip Mpango. Credit: Tanzania Episcopal Conference (TEC)

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“When I am at my lowest, I know that God will lift me up. God has given me the power of my life. I am a weak man but God Himself has helped me,” Bishop Kilaini said March 19.

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.