St. Francis Community and Nyaburundu Outstation

Fr. Jim Donohue.

There are some small Christian communities that we visit on Saturdays. Br. Michael and I went to the St. Francis Christian community on September 24.

Yes, we went via motorcycle. I had the Mass books in my backpack and the briefcase with the Mass kit in my right hand as I hung onto the motorcycle with my left hand. I had no free hand to take a photo! You can use your imagination!!!!

I had Mass in Swahili, reading the gospel, while Br. Michael gave a spirited homily. After Mass, we posed for photos. Then, there was a discussion among the community members about how they might celebrate the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi on October 4th, for he is their patron saint.

I told people that this was my first visit to a small Christian community, my first Mass arriving on a motorcycle, and my first Mass surrounded by chickens! People were warm, gracious and welcoming…something that seems to be universal among the Tanzanian people.

After breakfast, Br. Michael had a meeting with the altar servers to pray and to practice. There are usually five servers for the weekday Masses and many more on Sundays.

On Sunday, September 25th, Br. Michael and I were a team to visit two different outstations. First, we went by motorcycle to the Nyaburundu outstation.

It took about 20 minutes by motorcycle, but I made a few changes. I told Michael that I thought I could put everything in the backpack and then he placed it in front of him so that I could “hang on” with both hands. STILL no photos of this experience! Maybe this is STILL best left to your imagination.

We stopped for fuel, and then we were on our way! The Eucharist was celebrated with great music, singing and participation by everyone. Br. Michael preached, and then we gathered outside for some photos and conversation.

There is a catechist at each outstation, who helps organize and lead the celebration in different ways. There is also a chairperson—many are women—who makes announcements and reports the happenings in the parish and the diocese. Every Mass has a choir who clearly have practiced before the Sunday liturgy.

Fr. Jim with parishioners at the Nyaburundu outstation.

After each Mass, people count the collection and enter information into ledgers to keep account of attendance, communions and donations.

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