This will be brief note bringing with it a note of sadness. Our Bishop/my Bishop Aloysius Balina, age 67, died from liver cancer on Tuesday morning, 6 November, at Bugando Referral Hospital in Mwanza. The funeral will be Saturday morning at the cathedral in Shinyanga. It is a sad day for all of us in the Diocese as well as at Bugando Hospital where he was the Tanzanian Episcopal Conference representative for many years and was instrumental in opening a school for Doctors. He was also involved in adding a cancer hospital to the present hospital. Fittingly, it will be named after him because of his input in getting it started. Ironically, he was a victim of cancer.
For me it is a great personal loss as I have known Bishop Balina since 1960 when he was a seminarian and did pastoral work at my first parish of Buhangija. I have also lost a brother as I have been part of the family since his brother Matayo was administrator of my many projects at Old Maswa in the mid 1970s. Not only that but he was born about 1 mile from Old Maswa church where I was pastor for 40 years. He opened our new parish of St. Peter’s in Nkololo, consecrated the church, dedicated our Diocesan Shrine of Divine Mercy and had confirmations here in all four Centers last June even though he was not feeling well. We never dreamed that it would be his last visit here in his home area.
I visited him as soon as I returned from the States the end of Sept. At that time he was able to visit. However, when I went to see him just last week, he had deteriorated dramatically and one could not wish that he go on suffering. I was able to say good-bye, pray and give him a blessing. Nevertheless, it is going to be difficult saying good-bye.
We are now preparing the rafters for our operating suites building and expect to get white metal roofing from Dar es Salaam. It is a big, expensive project. Please keep us in your prayers as we need the operating theaters very much but are not able to move forward quickly without sufficient funds.
We are getting rains and people are in their fields plowing with oxen and planting corn. We need the food as last year many people did not harvest enough food for their needs.
Many problems have come up very recently that needed difficult decisions. I thank God for our devotion to the Divine Mercy and pray often “Jesus I Trust in You