Tanzanian Cardinal Prays for “firm, unwavering faith” after Receiving Pallium in Rome as Metropolitan Archbishop

Protase Cardinal Rugambwa during the graduation of 40 Major Seminarians at St. Paul’s Senior Seminary of Theology, Kipalapala, in Tanzania’s Catholic Archdiocese of Tabora. Credit: ACI Africa

Protase Cardinal Rugambwa is imploring the grace of God to have his faith strengthened alongside that of the people of God in the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Tabora, which he shepherds.

In his homily during the celebration of his receiving of the pallium in Rome as Archbishop of Tabora, Cardinal Rugambwa said that strong faith among the people of God in the Tanzanian Metropolitan See would further the course of “communion and unity” that the pallium symbolizes.

Only Metropolitan Archbishops and the Latin-rite Patriarch of Jerusalem are imposed with the liturgical vestment called the pallium, a white woolen stole adorned with six black crosses, that is a symbol of communion, authority, and unity with the Holy Father and his pastoral mission of being a shepherd for the people of God.

In a rite that is a sign of communion with the See of Peter, the Pope traditionally, bestows the stole to the new Archbishops on June 29, the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul.

Cardinal Rugambwa was among the 42 recently appointed Catholic Archbishops, who received their blessed Pallia at the Vatican on June 29.


In the Eucharistic celebration at St. Theresa of the Child Jesus Cathedral grounds of Tabora Archdiocese on July 3, the Feast of St. Thomas, Apostle, Cardinal Rugambwa said that in receiving the Pallium, an Archbishop has “to ensure that in his Metropolitan See, faith is protected and the discipline of Christian discipleship is followed and respected.”

“As I pray for myself to have strong faith, I also want to pray for you to be strong in faith, which will push all of us together to confess without hesitation that, ‘The Lord is our God’ in the example of the Apostle Thomas, who was the first to make the confession in these words, ‘My Lord and my God’".

“I’m praying for strong faith, and asking the Apostle Thomas to intercede for us, because today, the lack of strong faith causes great division in our Church, starting with our families and our small Christian communities; and this division is even in the Church at the national Church and even internationally,” the Cardinal, who had just returned from Rome added.

He emphasized, “The lack of firm and unwavering faith makes us lose the unity and the communion I am asked to have with this insignia of the Pallium, and even the love and zeal to serve as God Himself desires.”

The Cardinal cautioned against tendencies towards secular values that he said are enticing and deceptive.

More in Africa

“We are deceived by worldly things that please us and lead us to follow untrue faiths, which are contrary to our traditions and the teachings of our Church,” he lamented, and emphasized the need to remain firm in “the faith and the teachings that we have received, and that is built on the foundations of the Apostles and the teachings of the Church.”

The Tanzanian Catholic Church leader, who began his Episcopal Ministry in April 2008 as Bishop of Tanzania’s Kigoma Diocese challenged the people of God to follow the footsteps of St. Thomas who he said sought to confirm and know well that the one he was to follow was Jesus Christ and no one else.

“Why don't we be like Apostle Thomas? We seek to see the nail marks in His hands and put our fingers into His side so that we are not deceived by those we encounter every day bringing us teachings of untrue faith that leave us in doubt,” he said.

St. Thomas, the 64-year-old Cardinal continued, “is a good example for us; if you do not have faith today, do not be afraid, but instead seek that faith; seek the one with those marks, and put your fingers in His marks so that you may get that faith.”

Cardinal Rugambwa, who was Appointed Coadjutor Archbishop of Tabora in April 2023 and elevated to Cardinal in September 2023 implored the grace to always be guided by God, “who I want to be the one to open the door for me, as He did for the prophets and apostles and even for all others who believed in Him and were always with Him in everything they did.”


Meanwhile, speaking during the July 3 celebration, the Apostolic Nuncio in Tanzania, Archbishop Angelo Accattino, said the Pallium that the Cardinal had received in Rome was of “great significance”.

“Its importance lies in the fact that Jesus Christ made Peter the leader of the other Apostles and appointed him as the foundation and source of unity of faith and community in the Church,” Archbishop Accattino said.

Cognizant of the meaning of the Pallium, he went on to say, “Metropolitan Archbishops must be vigilant to maintain unity and communion with the successor of Peter, the Vicar of Christ and the visible head of the Church, namely the Holy Father.”

The representative of the Holy Father in the East African nation since his appointment in January 2023 commended Cardinal Rugambwa and the Metropolitan See of Tabora and it’s Suffragan Dioceses of Kahama, Mpanda and Kigoma to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

“May you be seen worthy and pious in the Pallium that you will wear from today,” the Apostolic Nuncio said, and implored, “May the Blessed Virgin Mary, the holiest among the Saints, always be your motherly protector and for the faithful of this blessed Metropolitan Archdiocese of Tabora.”

(Story continues below)

Nicholas Waigwa contributed to the writing of this story

ACI Africa was founded in 2019. We provide free, up-to-the-minute news affecting the Catholic Church in Africa, giving particular emphasis to the words of the Holy Father and happenings of the Holy See, to any person with access to the internet. ACI Africa is proud to offer free access to its news items to Catholic dioceses, parishes, and websites, in order to increase awareness of the activities of the universal Church and to foster a sense of Catholic thought and culture in the life of every Catholic.