The liturgy of the Eucharist with baptisms began at Tarani. Fr. Yohana presided.
The baptismal font was made ready! Really! When people are baptized here, a great deal of water is used! Most of the newly baptized are children who bend their head for the water to be poured on them.
There were about 25 people to be baptized. Here they are getting organized with their godparents to begin the baptismal rite.
Fr. Yohana began by asking their intentions and then claiming them for Christ with a sign of the cross.
After the Liturgy of the Word and the Litany of Saints, Fr. Yohana prayed the prayer of exorcism and anointed the breast of each person with the oil of catechumens.
Next, Fr. Yohana blessed the water for baptism. He was looking around for another big pail, thinking that he and I would each baptize people. I had not practiced any of the prayers in Swahili, so I was glad that he had to baptize all the people!
There were three “grandmothers” (“bibi”) who were baptized. Afterwards, many of their children spoke of the pride they had in their mothers who chose to be baptized after many years of pondering this moment.
The last two to be baptized were brothers who had waited patiently at the end of the long line.
After the baptisms, each newly baptized was presented with a baptismal candle.
It really was an amazing ceremony filled with personal devotion, community prayer and singing, celebration and participation. I could see the joy on the faces of the parents, the nervousness of some of the young people, the pride of the grandmothers, and the joy (and competence) of Fr. Yohana as he presided, preached and exercised this important ministry of baptism.
As someone who studied and taught about liturgy and sacraments for a lifetime, I was overjoyed to see the abundance of water and oil used to symbolize the richness and overflowing grace of God at work among everyone gathered. The time seem to fly by, but I noticed that the celebration had taken over two hours. Honestly, it did not “feel” like this. I think that this is another sign of good liturgy…you just get “caught up” in the moment.
Now we had time for some photos and a continued celebration with a meal outside. Women of the parish had prepared beans, chicken, rice, and bananas for everyone. There was also soda and water to drink.
More to come on www.resurrectionists.ca
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