I went to the Mirwa Outstation with Brother Michael on Sunday, October 2 for the 7:00 am Mass.
The children sit in a special section at the front of the church. In Swahili, one child is called mtoto and more than one child is called watoto. I have to catch myself from calling more than one child “mtotos!”
You can see that the church is quite crowded. It takes about 25-30 minutes to drive to this outstation. I was surprised, however, to see several altar servers at this place on Sunday because I had seen them the day before at the parish church. I asked how they got to the church on Saturday, and I was told that most of them walked! Oh my! My heart just went out to them. But they seem to think nothing of this.
There are two young people who read the first and second readings at the outstation. I am embarrassed to read the gospel after they read because, as I follow along in my Swahili book of readings, I can hear how well they pronounce words and how well they proclaim the readings. I make a point of praising them after each Mass.
Of course, one cannot do anything but praise the choir for leading everyone in song. This is a new experience for me, but there is a beat to the songs, and everyone claps to the beat. I have found something in “my bones” to do this. Of course, anyone who has ever seen me dance, must be quite amazed at this. Perhaps this is proof of how God can work with very little!!!!!
There is something quite wonderful about the “mtotos!” They are very shy and reserved until I make them smile…and then…oh my!
I have to confess that every time I see one of these children’s smiles, I thank God that I am here in Tanzania. Many people do not receive communion. Many of the children are baptized at a later age. So, I have started to walk over to where the children sit and to give them a special blessing: “Awabariki Mungu wmenyezi, Baba, na Mwana, na Roho Mtakatifu” (“May Almighty God bless you, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit”).
We had a bit of a problem just before we arrived at Kizaru Matongo for Mass. You can see Br. Michael walking. I wonder if you can guess.
More to come on www.resurrectionists.ca
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