The church building has been built at Natta-Mbiso village in Tanzania’s wildlife-rich district of Serengeti, earlier this year.
Bishop Michael Msongazila led a special church service to bless and inaugurate the church last Friday after a day, after the investor handed over the church to him.
“The church building was handed over to me yesterday (Thursday evening) and we are today blessing it to officially make it our house of worship,” the RC Bishop said.
He thanked the American investor for funding construction of the church for the village Catholics as well as continuing to support local development projects in villages bordering wildlife conservation areas in Western Serengeti.
“Even having a house of worship is social development. I thank God for the investor of Grumeti Reserves,” Bishop Msonganzila who was accompanied by several priests and local church elders remarked.
The new church has the capacity to accommodate between 400 to 500 worshippers at a go, according to local church elders.
Bishop Msonganzila said the church will put the investor on the list of those who deserve prayers and blessings of the faithful.
Grumeti Reserves representative, Noel Mbise said besides investing heavily in wildlife conservation, the presence of the investor in Tanzania has continued to transform lives in many ways, including supporting scholarships to needy but bright students through Grumeti Fund.
“Sustainable wildlife conservation cannot be possible without involvement of the community. The investor supports not only wildlife conservation but also the community,” Mbise who is also the General Manager of Research and Community Unit at Grumeti said.
He said the church building will continue to enhance the existing good relationship between the investor who is also a catholic and local communities.
Grumeti Reserves operates several world-class lodges in Tanzania including Sasakwa, and the company has also massively invested in conservation and community development in Western Serengeti, through Grumeti Fund.
The area Parish Priest, Fr Jeremia Musira asked thousands of the church believers to clap hands for the investor as a gesture of appreciation, during the grand inauguration ceremony of the modern church, coloured by a special Mass led by Bishop Msonganzila.
Construction works of the church were carried out by Grumeti Construction, a sister company to Grumeti Reserves, after the investor donated US$ 450,000 to support the project in recent months.
“The money came directly from the investor to build the church,’’ Martha Baare, a senior official with Grumeti Reserves, said early this year when construction of the church was ongoing.
She said the US investor has been attending church services hosted by the Natta-Mbiso village Roman Catholic Church very often whenever he visited Tanzania.
“There has been a long term relationship between our investor and the church. And many of our workers go to worship in the same church,” she said.