Tanzanian Night at McFarland parish to support St. Benedict Parish in Illungu, Tanzania Print
Around the Diocese
Written by Julie Allington, For the Catholic Herald   
Thursday, Jan. 09, 2020 -- 12:00 AM
Tanzanian Chicken
Christ the King Parish in McFarland has a sister parish relationship with St. Benedict Parish in Tanzania in East Africa. Pictured above, a St. Benedict parishioner gives Julie Allington of Christ the King a live chicken on a 2019 trip to Tanzania. (Contributed photo)

MCFARLAND -- Christ the King (CTK) Parish, McFarland is planning a fun and lively "Tanzanian Night" on Saturday, Jan. 18, from 6 to 8 p.m. to support its Sister Parish in Illungu, Tanzania, in East Africa.

All are welcome to come and enjoy authentic Tanzanian foods, a silent auction of Tanzanian items such as baskets and cloths, 50/50 raffles, informational booths, games, videos, songs by CTK children, and much more. Learn about another culture, while you help a mission and truly make a difference in people's lives.

Helping parishioners in Tanzania

This fundraiser is to help the parishioners of St. Benedict Parish, who live in abject poverty in the remote and mountainous region of Ilungu.

The primary occupation is subsistence farming of maize, beans, and potatoes on small plots of land. Although most of the parishioners are not starving, they are poorly nourished, and there is little or no income for basic necessities.

St. Benedict Parish was only inaugurated in 2013. Because it is such a young parish, the infrastructure of the parish has not yet been completed.

Fr. Abdon Minde, pastor of St. Benedict Parish, says that the parish still needs a parish office, a pastoral hall for seminars and meetings, facilities for priests and the seminarian assigned during the summer months, as well as development projects to sustain the parish.

Other priorities include a fence around the perimeter of the parish and a two-room kindergarten school. The fence would allow Father Minde to help supplement the meager income of his parishioners by raising goats and donkeys on the parish grounds and gifting them to his parishioners; and to augment their low-nutrient diets by creating fishponds and gardens.

The fence is also needed to keep neighboring donkeys, goats, sheep, and cows from freely grazing there.

The school is necessary to address the major issue of illiteracy and to create an atmosphere where education is encouraged as a road out of poverty.

The dire circumstances of St. Benedict Parish have caused many parishioners to lose hope.

Sister parishes

However, two years ago, Fr. Steve Smith, pastor of CTK Parish, spearheaded efforts to have his and St. Benedict Parishes become sister parishes.

As the only source of spiritual, material, and financial assistance to St. Benedict Parish, CTK parishioners are becoming aware that their prayers and donations are having a major impact on the lives of their brothers and sisters in Ilungu.

They are bringing hope to those who felt hopeless. Because of their love, the parishioners of St. Benedict Parish now know that God does love them.

In August 2019, three ambassadors of CTK Parish, Julie and Mark Allington and Julie's sister, Pat Malak, visited their sister parish. They saw firsthand the progress that St. Benedict Parish has made and can attest to the difficult conditions that continue to exist in Ilungu.

They also experienced the love, joy, and gratitude that their brothers and sisters had for the parishioners of CTK Parish. The parishioners of St. Benedict Parish gave the ambassadors many beautiful gifts, some of which will be in the silent auction on Tanzanian Night.

Asking others for help

But CTK Parish can not address the many needs of St. Benedict Parish alone. Our sister parish is hurting, and we are asking others for help.

Come and join us for an enjoyable, fun, and educational evening to support this very worthy cause. In addition to the fundraising activities, receptacles for warm clothing and children's picture books will be available at Tanzanian Night for our sister parish.

These are some of the ways you can help a very poor parish in Ilungu while making a significant difference in the lives of its parishioners. Your help is greatly appreciated.

For questions or more information, contact Julie Allington at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 715-862-2523.

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