DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania (ChurchMilitant.com) - Public Masses have been suppressed in the United States and abroad in the wake of the Wuhan virus, but the African nation of Tanzania, led by Catholic President John Magufuli, is not following suit.
"I insist upon you my fellow Christians and even [Muslims], do not be afraid, do not stop gathering yourself to glorify God and praise Him," he said. "That is why as a government we didn't close down churches or mosques."
Magufuli added, "Instead, they should be always open for the people to seek refuge to God. Churches are places where people could seek the true healing, because there the True God resides."
The president's determination has allowed St. Bryce Missions (SBM) to continue spreading the gospel in addition to providing fresh water and undertaking various planting projects.
After struggling with corruption in its missionary outreach to Costa Rica ― including two priests more interested in indigenous pagan practices than Catholics ones ― SBM began focusing on missionary work in Tanzania.
The priests from the Missionary Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament (MCBS), with whom SBM now works closely, had been laboring hard for about 10 years in the region.
Dedication to the Blessed Sacrament, orthodoxy and authentic evangelization was bearing much fruit. Whereas in Costa Rica conversions were non-existent, the MCBS had received thousands into the Church.
SBM has been a part of this growth for roughly six years now.
Their teams supervise drilling for vital water wells necessary for growing food, building houses and human consumption. Teams are currently focusing on seven villages in the region.
As the work toward longer-term solutions continues, SBM further provides families with corn and mangoes. Mango groves are particularly valuable for providing both nutrition and income for families.
SBM believes "the ultimate good for every human person is to come to know the love and mercy of God and be received into the sacramental life of the Church." To that end, SBM works closely with the Missionary Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament (MCBS), providing simple, dignified chapels for the celebration of the sacraments.
Missionaries are also sent to supervise drilling for water, evangelize and assist in various capacities at St. Bernard Special Needs school in the sub-Saharan desert region of Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania.
The school currently serves 18 children with special needs such as cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and autism spectrum disorder.
In a letter, Fr. Lijeesh Varghese of MCBS expressed his gratitude to SBM in 2019 for all their assistance and service.
In his letter, he noted SBM's building a church in Kimwabe, permitting people to "pray peacefully in rainy seasons," as well as providing clean water in Msongola, Mvuti and Zingiziwa.
Saint Bryce (also spelled "Brice"), after whom SBM is named, was raised by St. Martin of Tours. He began as a vain and ambitious priest, who repented, and became the bishop of Tours.
As bishop, he relapsed into his old ways and was banished from his appointment. Saint Bryce spent seven years in Rome, repenting again. He was restored as bishop of Tours after the incumbent died. Upon his death, he was venerated as a saint for ruling the second time with notable humility and holiness.