Perpetual Vows of Vitalis and Joseph: Part I

Fr. Jim Donohue.

Fr. Paul Voisin, C.R., our Superior General, was the first to arrive in Morogoro on December 6 so that he could receive the vows of Vitalis Masika and Joseph Chacha on December 8th.

Fr. Maciej, Fr. Yohana and I left Buhemba at 3:00 a.m. on that same day. Our first stop was a quick one, as we drove to Butiama to pick up Fr. Philip. We were now on our way to Morogoro so that we could participate in the perpetual vows of Joseph Chacha and Vitalis Masika on December 8.

There were many preparations being made by the time we arrived. Selestine is putting the final touches on some outdoor decorations.

The number of seminarians has really increased since I was temporary rector in 2019-2020.

We arrived at about 7:00 p.m., just in time for dinner. The next day was free, so Fr. Andrzej took Yohana, Philip and me to see our new seminary property. It is about 2 ½ times the size of our present location. For now, we have built a wall around the property for security of ownership.

There are some ideas about how we might make good use of the land before any decisions are made about further building. First, we might drill for water. Right now, we are using water from our Franciscan neighbors. One idea is that we could have some animals to tend: chickens, cows, pigs, and/or goats. We could also plant some crops such as corn and beans. This would provide some opportunities for manual labor for our seminarians, particularly for the aspirants. Raising animals and tending crops would also contribute to the food supply. I can only imagine how much food all these seminarians, most of whom are “growing young men,” can eat! These are just ideas right now, so we will see what the future brings.

Our chapel is too small for a celebration of this size. Fortunately, the local parish church is within walking distance and the pastor was happy to allow us to use the church. The church is still in the midst of construction. The church structure is in place, but there is much to do to finish the interior and to purchase furnishings.

Fr. Maciej, local superior of the Tanzanian mission, was the presider for the Eucharist, which was in Swahili. Fr. Paul prepared his homily ahead of time and Fr. Andrzej translated it into Swahili so that he could read it at Mass. Fr. Paul received the vows of Vitalis and Joseph in English. Most of the people were not English speakers so Fr. Yohana acted as a Master of Ceremonies and commented in Swahili about what was happening during the profession of perpetual vows so that everyone would understand what was happening.

Fr. Paul was ready!
Fr. Yohana was ready!
Fr. Daniel was ready!
Our cantor, seminarian Bryan, was ready!
Behind the scenes in the sacristy.
Fr. Andrzej was ready.
Fr. Philip was ready.

Fr. Andrzej, Fr. Paul, Fr. Maciej, and Fr. Jim are ready!

To be continued with the vow ceremony and celebrations that followed….

More to come on

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