Christmas in Butiama and Buhemba - 2

Fr. Jim Donohue.

The day before the 3rd Sunday of Advent, people started to prepare the grounds for Christmas in Butiama. This is taken VERY seriously, and it includes picking out the grass between the bricks! Oh my!!! These are the two senior altar servers: Christopher and Andrew. Christopher is about to enter his first year of secondary school and Andrew is about to begin his fourth year of secondary school.

Andrew told me that he has two more years of secondary school and then his dream is to apply to enter the community as an aspirant. He has had some good examples with Fr. Daniel in the past, and Fr. Phillip and Br. Mosses in the present. Andrew ended up accompanying me for all three Masses that I had on the 3rd Sunday of Advent in Butiama.

The Cathedral is quite beautiful; it spacious, with an open-air architecture.

A minor crisis developed as someone tried to open a door to a storage room. Once again, I took the role of observer/supervisor as more and more people were required to open the door.

Finally, open! Not everyone was as interested in this “work in progress” as I was!

David, Vianny, Emmanuel, Baltazar, and Michael Jackson.

Fr. Phillip looks after the brother candidates, so they usually stay at the parish in Butiama when they are not in school. David and Baltazar will start catechetical school in the new year. Vianny is living in the Butiama parish because he is interested in joining us as a brother. Michael Jackson recently graduated from the two-year program at the catechetical school. Emmanuel is one of the aspirants in Morogoro but was home for a few weeks in nearby Musoma for medical reasons. He will return to Morogoro shortly.

One problem…and I must tell you, that there are ALWAYS problems—let’s call them challenges…is that we just heard that the religious sisters who run the catechetical school are leaving the school because of some dispute with the local bishop. So, we are waiting to see who will replace the sisters and we are doing some work to find alternative catechetical schools in case we are unsatisfied with future developments. Fr. Andrzej and I will probably travel to Dodoma (the capital city about mid-way between Morogoro and Butiama/Buhemba) to check out their catechetical school early in the new year.

After celebrating the Masses in Butiama, I traveled back to Buhemba to prepare for a “packed” weekend of Masses on the 4th Sunday of Advent, and then Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I was to celebrate Mass in the main church (Biatika) on the last Sunday of Advent. Fr. Yohana and Fr. Andrzej each went to one outstation. Then, Fr. Andrzej and I had the 8:00 p.m. Christmas Eve Mass in Biatika, while Fr. Yohana celebrated Mass at the outstation in Magunga. The plan was for me to have three Masses the next day on Christmas in the outstations of Tarani (at 7:00 a.m.), Kizaru-Matongo (at 11:00 a.m.), and Kyamuko (at 1:00 p.m.).

Br. Michael and Leonsi oversaw preparing the decorations in the church. However, there was a tight timeline to transition from Advent to Christmas. Luckily, the older, and very faithful, altar servers showed up to help.

From left to right: Augustino, Grabriel, Yohana, John, Paulo, and Frank. My goal is always to try to get Frank to smile…it is not easy, but I persist!

Br. Michael and a “fundi”—this is what they call a handy-man who can help install or fix things—start to build the structure for the stable and the nativity scene.

Meanwhile things are being cleaned and readied in the church, thanks to John.

Brother Michael and Leonis still had time to meet with the altar servers to prepare them for the big weekend.

Meanwhile, Br. Michael has made more progress on the structure for the stable!

The work continues…as will the blog…stayed tuned for more Christmas news from Buhemba!

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