Catholic Diocese of Kigoma

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The Historical Background of the

Catholic Diocese of Kigoma

Rt. Rev. Joseph R. Mlola, ALCP/OSS

The Missionaries of Africa arrived at the lakeshore of Tanganyika, Ujiji on 20th January 1879 with the mandate of evangelizing the Great Lakes region of which Kigoma forms a part. This date marked the beginning of the later evangelization of this region. The Vicariate Apostolic of Kigoma was created on 10th May 1946 with Msgr Jan van Sambeek as its first Bishop. The first mission was established at Kigoma, the railhead on Lake Tanganyika in 1914. The second mission, Mulera, was founded in 1926.

The Catholic Diocese of Kigoma, which was created in 1953 is found in Kigoma region, in the Western part of Tanzania, along the shores of Lake Tanganyika, the second deepest lake in the world (1,470m. deep) after Lake Baiker in Russia. The Diocese covers some 45,066 sq. km, of which 8,029 sq.km is covered by water (Lake Tanganyika ) and has over 2,127,930 inhabitants (URT 2012) of whom 524,713 are Catholics.