Tanzanian Cardinal-designate to Foster “what is expected of any minister with same office”

Archbishop Protase Rugambwa with Pope Francis in Rome. Credit: Vatican Media

Archbishop Protase Rugambwa, the Coadjutor Archbishop of Tabora in Tanzania, who is among the 21 newly named Cardinals has told ACI Africa that he will continue to provide leadership as expected of him as a Cardinal.

“I look forward to continue fostering what is expected of any minister and Church leader entrusted with the same office and responsibilities I am assuming,” the Tanzanian Cardinal-designate said during the Monday, July 10 interview. 

He added, “The mission of evangelization continues even though it is now more demanding and even engaging not only at the local level but also at the international realm of life and action.”

The former Secretary of the Dicastery for Evangelization, who was appointed the Coadjutor Archbishop for Tabora Archdiocese on April 13 said that providing leadership in what will be his new role in the Church as Cardinal “can only be achieved in a team work and walking together with others and nobody is indispensable.”

Born in May 1960 in Tanzania’s Catholic Diocese of Bukoba, Archbishop Rugambwa was ordained a Priest for the Catholic Diocese of Rulenge-Ngara in September 1990.


He obtained a doctorate in pastoral theology from Rome-based Pontifical Lateran University.

In January 2008, the Cardinal-designate was appointed the Local Ordinary of Kigoma Diocese in his native country of Tanzania, and Consecrated Bishop some three months later.

He was appointed Adjunct Secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples (Propaganda Fide) and president of the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) with the personal title of Archbishop in June 2012. 

In 2017, Archbishop Rugambwa was appointed Secretary of Propaganda Fide, the Vatican department tasked with “the transmission and dissemination of the faith throughout the whole world” that has “the specific responsibility of coordinating and guiding all the Church's diverse missionary efforts and initiatives”, where he served until March 2023.

During his service at the Vatican, the Tanzanian Cardinal-designate defended the youth facing migration challenges.

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In a July 2022 report, Archbishop Rugambwa urged members of the Association of the Regional Episcopal Conferences of Central Africa (ACERAC) at their Plenary Assembly in Mongomo, Equatorial Guinea, to defend the youth as they are vulnerable to migration challenges.

“The Episcopate of Central Africa should be the mouthpiece and tireless defender of youth in their respective governments and societies, drawing attention to the reality of the migratory phenomenon, which sees young people at the forefront, especially as victims,” he said during the assembly that sought to address the “Phenomenon of the Youth Migration: The case of Central Africa.”

In August 2019, the Cardinal-designate hailed the establishment of ACI Africa as being in line with the desires and goals of the Vatican-based Congregation responsible for missionary work across the globe.

“We are indeed as a congregation very privileged because evangelization through media for us is also one of our priorities,” Archbishop Rugambwa said in his goodwill message ahead of the ACI Africa launch in August 2019.

Other Cardinals from Africa that Pope Francis named on July 9 include Archbishop Stephen Ameyu Martin of Juba in South Sudan, and Archbishop Stephen Brislin of Cape Town in South Africa.


Catholic Bishops in Africa have congratulated the three African Cardinals-designate and expressed spiritual support for “the success of this new and noble mission”.

In a statement shared with ACI Africa July 10, the Secretary General of the Symposium of Episcopal Conference of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM), Fr. Rafael Simbine Junior says the Catholic Church leadership in Africa “is thrilled to share in the news” of the naming of three new Cardinals, who are part of the Catholic Church in Africa.

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.