Tanzania - Global Outreach

  • Reflection on Mission Sunday 

    Father Damian Milliken missionary work is focused on the schools in the Usambara mountain region of Tanzania. Father Damian, a Benedictine priest, was born and raised in Elmira, NY. He has been serving the people of Tanzania since 1960. He founded St. Mary’s Secondary School at Mazinde Juu in 1989 to provide educational opportunities for underprivileged girls. The school has grown from its original 40 students and 1 faculty member to become one of the top 10 performing secondary schools in Tanzania with about 1000 students. The cost for tuition and board at St. Mary’s is about $1000 per year, which is still an impossible sum for many of the students. Your generosity will help educate needy students like Lisa. In her first year at St Mary’s, Father Damian was notified that Lisa’s mother had died. Lisa was taken in by an aunt who could not afford to pay for her schooling. Contributions from St Joseph parishioners were able to pay for Lisa’s schooling. She is now in her second year at University of Dar es Salaam studying Botany.

    Mission Sunday contributions may be placed in the collection baskets during all masses. Or they can be mailed to either sister parish. Please indicate Tanzania on the memo line of your check. You may also use any of the on-line giving options. Giving by credit or debit card, or by electronic check transfer is available from the parish website https://holyspirit-saintjoseph.org. Again, please indicate the payment is for Tanzania. Thanks in advance for your generosity.

  • our parish mission collections Go towards scholarships and support of girls’ education in Tanzania. 

    The Tanzanian Action Team (TAT) goal is to raise $40,000 which will cover the expense of the education, as well as room and board, for 40 high school girls from Tanzania who could not otherwise afford such a wonderful education.

    Sister Evetha studied at Nazareth College several years ago where she earned her Masters Degree and has since been the head of St. Mary's School in Tanzania.  St. Mary's School was founded by Father Damian Milliken who has worked tirelessly in Tanzania, often at risk, for the last 50 years. He is very closely engaged in the work and formation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Usambara, and of their students.  He visited our church last June to share the message of his life in Africa.

    The Sisters of Our Lady of Usambara are a congregation of African nuns whose work is caring for the needs of the poorest and most deprived people in the eastern regions of Tanzania. They direct schools for girls, as well as operating clinics, hospitals, and pre-school programs. In the past they have come to Rochester, two at a time, to be educated at Nazareth College, then returned to become world-class leaders in their own community.

    Giving girls a chance to grow ...in knowledge, faith, and confidence

    Latest News Letter - June 2018

    A recent update from Father Damian Milliken on the impact of educating girls in Tanania: 

    “When I first came to Tanganyika in 1960, l greatly regretted my limitations in the field of medicine when I saw the extent of physical sickness and maladies that afflicted our people and felt that if l had become a doctor, I would have been able to help alleviate so much pain and suffering. Time and providence dictated otherwise however. Take for example, our class of 2012 who just completed University and of the 130 of our girls graduating in 2016, thirty two became doctors. Then I reflected on the input from our school into the lives and welfare of people of Tanzania being served by the young women of Mazinde Juu and I see how well the Lord has provided a far greater benefit to thousands more Tanzanians than my personal doctoring could ever have achieved.

    Now I have no regrets and want to thank all of you who have stood by me contributing so generously and loyally over the years to this apostolate of Education for African Women.”

    A Partnership Providing Scholarships for Girls who Desperately Need Them

    • The scriptures, from the Old Testament through the message of Christ Himself, teach us how essential it is for us to care for the needs of the hungry, homeless and lonely. An effective way to fulfill this mission of love of neighbor is to “teach people to fish” rather than repeatedly giving them a fish.
    • Our parish can provide a lasting way to help the truly poor and hopeless to break the cycle of abject poverty present for generations. Given this opportunity, a young girl who graduates with a high school education will be able to find employment. From then on, her family can “fish”. It is likely that her sons and daughters will also be educated.
    • We can communicate with the Sisters of Our Lady of Usambara in Africa, with Fr. Damian Milliken, a Benedictine priest who works with the sisters, and with the students from the mission schools. We can build relationships in real-time with people in real-life circumstances we might never have the chance to know otherwise. 
    • We can take steps to share what we have with those who have not by offering our love, and our financial support towards scholarships for girls’ education and supporting building expansion and repair. While poverty is a way of life in Tanzania, the people there are richer than many in spirit, faith, community, good humor, generosity and openness to all.

    Building Expansion

    • We need to expand school campus buildings as student numbers increase. This means adding additional classrooms, bathrooms, kitchen space, dining facilities, dormitories and also assuring an adequate supply of clean water.
    • Current buildings must be maintained.
    • Many facilities are badly in need of repair.


    • The formal laws of Tanzania declare men and women to be equal. However, the reality is that women have no status at all. They give birth, raise the children, cook, clean, carry, build the home, tend crops and harvest them.
    • Fewer than 5% of girls have the opportunity to complete high school; in rural areas it is considered unnecessary to educate females. 
    • For only $1000 a year, the high schools operated by the Sisters of Our Lady of Usambara offer girls an excellent Catholic education, room & board, uniforms, school supplies and basic health care. Our investment in education and equality for these young women goes a long way! We can support each girl for 4 years for about the same cost as one 1 year’s tuition at St. Joseph’s School. Without assistance, most girls cannot afford to come to the sisters’ schools. Education is the best predictor of self-determination for these girls.
    • The Usambara School for Girls at Kwamndolwa and St. Mary’s School for Girls at Mazinde Juu have 1100 students in grades 9 through Junior College.

    Why Tanzania?

    Because Christ Commissioned All of Us to Spread the Good News of Our Love and Care for Each Other to the Very Ends of the Earth

    This ministry has strong local connections:
    • Father Damian Milliken, OSB, who grew up in Elmira NY. His family lives and works in our diocese. He has worked tirelessly in Tanzania, often at risk, for 50 years. Fr. Damian is very closely engaged in the work and formation of the Sisters, and of their students. He will visit us this June to share the message of his life in Africa, of the Sisters of Our Lady of Usambara and their critically necessary work with girls and young women in this region, and their need for our support.
    • Knowing Fr. Damian allows us to directly reach these missions where the Sisters of Our Lady of Usambara live and work, with no loss of our investment to third parties. Every dollar that we invest in the future of families in this region go directly to the Sisters and their precious charges. We can help transform this region, one girl at a time. The return on our investment will be outstanding by any measure.
    • We welcome parishioners and friends to visit Tanzania with us, to see first-hand, and to experience this portion of God’s kingdom, and to better understand how we can impact the future of this community.

    How Can We Help?

    Donations may be directed at any time to St. Joseph's Church, attention Tanzanian Ministry.

    For more information and to support us in this important opportunity, please contact any of the members of St. Joseph’s Tanzanian Action Team:

    Thank you very much for your generous support!

    Father Damian’s second book is now available for purchase

    The cost of the book is  $22.99 and a  portion of the proceeds will go to St. Mary’s Mazinde Juu.  Instructions for ordering a book will be added to our website and will also be in the bulletin.      

    To order your book-
    By mail:  send check and shipping instructions to:
       Politics and Prose Bookstore, 5015     Connecticut Ave NW,
       Washington DC  20008

    Online:  www.politics-prose.com/book/9781624293191