I thought that I was finished receiving gifts. However, on Wednesday afternoon, three altar servers—Antonio, Samwelli, and Renatus—stopped by with a gift. I was surprised when they showed up. Earlier that day I had walked with many of the servers to see their family homes. When we went to Samwelli’s home, I noticed that there was a grave with a tombstone. It was the grave of his father, who had died 3 years earlier. We stopped and said a prayer at the graveside.
It turns out that they brought me a chicken as a going-away present. Unbelievable! I now have a cow, two sheep, and five chickens. I never imagined this!
I left Buhemba on Thursday, April 27. Fr. Yohana would drive with me, and he would return to Buhemba on his own. We would pick up Lameck Juma in Butiama to drive him to Morogoro, arriving on Friday, April 28.
Yohana and I shared the driving on the first day, but he drove most of the way on the second day. He told me that he was in a “driving mood.” When we arrived at the Formation House, I noticed something hanging near the gate. Now this was a surprise…and only the beginning of many wonderful things that they had planned for me.
I had some unpacking to do. I had brought everything back that I had taken to Buhemba, and I had some things that I left in Morogoro. I was tired, but I needed to bring some organization to my room. It did not take too long to have most things in place.
The next day, Saturday, was a retreat for the seminarians who would be receiving the ministry of acolyte and reader on Monday, May 1. So, on Saturday, we had a relaxing day and then went for pizza in the evening.
It was a great community night together. It was great to see everyone again. The next morning, Sunday, we would celebrate my 40th anniversary. The Mass would be in Swahili. I would preside and Fr. Yohana would preach.
The chapel was beautifully decorated. I began the liturgy and then Fr. Daniel welcomed everyone.
After Fr. Yohana’s homily, I prepared and incensed the altar and offertory gifts, and then led the Eucharistic Prayer.
Petro Francis directed the seminarians in the choir for the Eucharist.
We had some friends whom I had met a few years ago when I was in Morogoro. Everything was wonderful and I was very grateful to share this day with friends and my Resurrectionist brothers in Morogoro.
The liturgy gave me an opportunity to express my gratitude.
I am grateful to God for this call to religious life and priesthood and for all the people that God has put into my life to support and encourage this call.
I am grateful to my parents—Betty and Gene—and to my brothers and their spouses—Brian and Lynn, Bill and Nancy, and Michael—for helping me grow up in a family that was a source of love and encouragement.
I am grateful to all those I have encountered in education. This is an extremely long list because I have spent almost my entire life in school!
I am grateful for many friendships that I have made over the years that I still cherish.
Last, but certainly not least, I am grateful for the Congregation of the Resurrection. I have been formed, encouraged, supported, challenged, and loved by members for 50 years. It started at Resurrection College in 1974, but members of the Congregation of the Resurrection have supported me in my educational and pastoral ministry throughout these many years.
Even now, in my new Tanzanian ministry, the Resurrectionists have supported me each step of the way. My gratitude extends now to the men in Tanzania with whom I minister, as we work for the resurrection of society.
More to come on www.resurrectionists.ca
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