Bishop Bernardin F. Mfumbusa is Bishop of Kondoa in central Tanzania. He was appointed to that post by Pope Benedict XVI on March 12, 2011. Kondoa is Bishop Mfumbusa's hometown. It has a population of 500,000 people. However, only 50,000 are Catholics. Muslims are estimated to make up 89 percent of the population. Bishop Mfumbusa was consecrated and installed as head of the new diocese on May 14, 2011.
Bishop Mfumbusa first met Owen Phelps, founder and CEO of the Yeshua Institute, in 2001 as a young priest studying for a graduate degree in communications from the Gregorian Institute in Rome. Then-Father Mfumbusa accepted an internship in the Rockford Diocese's Office of Communications & Publications that Owen directed at the time. After the young priest went back to Rome, he earned a doctorate in communications and was assigned by Tanzania's bishops to the faculty of their national university, St. Augustine University of Tanzania (SAUT) in Mwanza, on the shores of Lake Victoria.
Although it was not chartered until 1998 and was not accredited until 2002, today SAUT educates more than 10,000 students, whom it attracts from Tanzania and throughout East and Central Africa -- including Kenya, Uganda, Sudan, Ethiopia, Burundi, Malawi and Zambia.
Soon Father Mfumbusa was appointed Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Assistant Deputy Vice Chancellor for Academics. In 2008, Tanzania's bishops appointed him full Deputy Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, the university's top academic post, in which he was responsible for academic matters in all four of the university's colleges. In that same year, SAUT graduated its first class of physicians in a cooperative program with Cornell University. It continues to educate many teachers to staff elementary and secondary schools throughout the region, as well as many new physicians.
As its first overseas charitable outreach, the Yeshua Institute arranged and helped to finance a shipment of more than 15,000 college texts for SAUT's library and 13 laptop computers for the school's administrators – a donation valued at more than $1 million. The shipment left the Books for Africa warehouse in Atlanta bound for Mwanza, Tanzania on Nov. 13, 2009 — the same day the Yeshua Institute certified its charter class of Facilitators for the S³ Catholic Leading Like Jesus Encounter.
In the fall of 2011, Owen presented an S³ Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus Encounter to the priests of the Kampala Archdiocese in Uganda. Bishop Bernardin sent two of his top diocesan officials to the program. They rode by bus for two days to participate and to take the program back to the Kondoa Diocese in Tanzania.