AUGUSTINE OF CANTERBURY
Catholic Church, Harehills Road, Leeds, LS8 5HR.
St. Thomas More Parish, Itaka, Tanzania
In July 1998 St. Augustine's twinned with St.
Thomas More Parish, Itaka, which is in the Diocese of Mbeya
in Tanzania, East Africa. Itaka is a village almost 920km.
drive west from the Tanzanian capital, Dar es Salaam, which
is on the east coast.
The Parish Priest of St. Thomas More's is Fr.
Michael Joseph Kelly. He was born and grew up in Leeds and
on leaving St. Michael's College, Leeds followed a calling
to the religous life and subsequently was ordained a priest
with the "White Fathers". He also qualified as an
achitect, a skill that he has put to good use in Tanzania.
During the latter part of the 20th century, when there were
enough Tanzanian priests to manage the parishes, the "White
Fathers" left and Fr. Michael was given permission to
become a Diocesan Priest in the Mbeya Diocese. In 1991, his
bishop sent him to Itaka to start a parish there.
At that time Itaka was a very small remote village
on a hill and Fr. Michael was given a hill opposite the village
on the other side of the river, where he subsequently built
a Church, a Parish House, a Kindergarten, a Home Crafts school,
a primary school and a Secondary and Vocational Training School.
The Vocational Training part of the school remains unfinished
due to lack of funding. The Homecrafts School has now been
converted and used as an intermediate class to prepare the
students and help them improve their english before moving
up to the secondary level of education.
WEB SITE -and also - LATEST
The entrance t St Thomas More Church in Itaka
The Sanctuary inside St. Thomas More Church
The entrance to St Thomas More Primary School in Itaka
The inner courtyard of the Primary School
One of the classrooms in the Primary School
Ariel View of St Thomas More Primary School, Itaka.
Below are some of Theresa's photos she took on
her visit to the Primary School in July 2007
The Secondary School in July 2007
Tanzania Group Committee
Members who have previously visited our twinned
parish in Itaka, Tanzania keep the parishioners informed of
developments and organise fund raising events.
When St. Augustine's initially twinned with St. Thomas
More Parish in Itaka ,the then curate plus three parishioners
went to Tanzania to visit our new sister parish. One of those
parishoners was Maggie McDaid and in her own words this is
how events unfolded.....
Our first visit to Itaka, Tanzania was a very emotionally
moving experience and by the time we arrived back at St Augustine's,
we had already promised Fr Michael in Itaka that we would
raise £20,000 to enable him to complete his new primary
school in time from the millenium! It just rolled off the
tongue and we set ourselves a target of two years to accomplish
our promise. Well - all things seemed possible!
Fortunately with the encouragement of our own
Father Michael with an appeal from the altar steps, the parish
responded and our campaign began in earnest.
The campaign to raise funds for Itaka immediately enhanced
the social life and activities in the parish. Parishioners
responded by committing themselves to direct monthly debits
and by holding anniversary, birthday and special events, where
their friends donated money to our fund as gifts. There was
even a parish pantomine!
Lent and Advent Stall
A stall is put up at the back of church during each Lent
and Advent. We receive donations in the form of unwanted presents,
unopened gifts and various other household and personal items.
They never fail to keep our stall ticking over. This also
lends to those people who have skills in card making and flower
pot power (Christmas wreaths, garlands and other decorations).
Without these people our achievements would have been greatly
Back To Itaka
In the summer of 2000, two more parishioners, Maureen Leahy
and Margaret Reynolds made a follow up visit to see the completed
new primary school and again St. Augustine's pledged and raised
a further £20,000. This money paid for all the furniture in
St. Thomas More Primary School.
In the Summer of 2007 Theresa Sheehan and her son
Kevin made a visit to see the new Secondary School.
By the summer of 2007 the parish had raised a total of £110,000
New ideas for fundraising are always welcome, as well as
unwanted gifts and coin jars - we are always ready to count or collect
if too heavy.
To Submit any thoughts or ideas, call Maggie
on 0113 269 1508 or contact Father Michael or Theresa Sheehan at
St Augustine's Presbytery.