After Mass in the main church, Fr. Yohana, Joseph, Selestine, and I returned to the
pickup truck and drove to another outstation, called Magunga. I was amazed at the
enthusiasm and participation of the people in this outstation. The choir was excellent!
At each of the three Masses, Fr. Yohana introduced me and then he translated some words for me. I started with the traditional greeting of “Tumsifu Yesu Kristu” (“May Jesus Christ be praised”) and waited for the traditional response of “Milele amina” (“Forever and ever, Amen”).
Then I pointed to each member of the community and indicated that we were Resurrectionists. People responded: “Nidyo” (“Yes”). Then, I said that people might be thinking that the Resurrectionists were a bit crazy. I pointed to Yohana and said, “First they send a young priest, and now they send an old priest.” People were smiling. Then I tapped him on the head and said, “First they send a priest with hair, and now they send a priest with no hair.” Now people started laughing. Then, pointing at Fr. Yohana, I said, “First they send someone with GREAT Swahili, and now they send someone with TERRIBLE Swahili.”
I assured them that I would try my best to improve my Swahili and that I was happy to be of service to them with all my heart. People were very welcoming and accepting of this old, bald, terrible Swahili speaking priest!
It was especially great to see Fr. Philip because we had lived together for a year in
Morogoro, and then I was able to participate in his ordination to priesthood in
August 2021. He has his hands full looking after the parish in Butiama because Fr.
Daniel (the pastor) is on vacation, and Br. Mosses just left for vacation the day
before. Peter and Audax had just completed their summer pastoral time in the
parish, while Jerome and Francis were just beginning their summer pastoral
placement. Fr. Philip will have to “break in” the new help!
Since Audax was finished his pastoral assignment, he was about to go on vacation. But his home is in Morogoro, so he was going to travel with Fr. Andrzej to get home. We were teasing him that Fr. Andrzej would take advantage of this time to have several spiritual conferences with him over the two-day ride back to Morogoro. Ever the diplomat, Audax just smiled.
We had time to chat, with refreshments, before dinner, and then sat down to eat and, of course, to sing Happy Birthday, complete with ice cream! You can see from the photo that we had three different flavors! It is funny listening to Tanzanians singing the Polish “Sto Lat” for a birthday. This is followed by “Happy Birthday,” and then “How old are you now?”
More to come on www.resurrectionists.ca
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