ARUSHA, TANZANIA – March 7, 2016
On March 7, 1966, four young Spiritan missionaries arrived in Arusha, Tanzania to begin their missionary service to the Congregation and the Church. Frs. Ned Marchessault, Joe Herzstein, Vince Stegman, and Don McGregor arrived that memorable day in beautiful Arusha to take up their call to proclaim the good news to the ends of the earth. The newly appointed local superior of the District of Kilimanjaro at the time, Fr. George Crocenzi, along with Frs. Vince Donovan, Tom Tunney and Ed Kelly met the new group of young missionaries who had just arrived from Nairobi with a brief walk around quiet downtown Arusha and their first taste of African hospitality.
Frs. Joe Herzstein and Ned Marchessault are still continuing the work of evangelization with the Maasai tribe in the Archdiocese of Arusha near the Ngorogoro Crater. They continue to reach out to people in the area who want to hear about the Gospel and they rarely tire of going to the most difficult out station to meet the people and discover God at work in their lives. Fifty years later they feel especially blessed to be living the missionary call and are just as excited to find the best way to share the Good News with those who have scarcely heard of the Gospel. “The day of our arrival in Tanzania and the beginning of our new work in the mission is even more important to me than the day I was ordained because this was the beginning of the work for which I was sent”, recalls Fr. Ned. Fr. Ned and Fr. Joe celebrated the special occasion with a simple get together in Ngorogoro parish where they will share some popcorn and recalled many stories of their many years of missionary life.
After spending more than 35 years of working in Tanzania and Ethiopia with the Maasai and Borana tribes, Fr. Vince Stegman continues to remain faithful to his missionary vocation as he works with young people as part of the Spiritan Campus Ministry team at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh.
The Spiritan Congregation has been blessed by such dedicated service of these brothers and the People of God have been enriched in so many ways for their missionary call.