Two Birthdays

Fr. Jim Donohue.

We celebrated two birthdays in our residence in Buhemba. Br. Michael Mabuluja celebrated his 30th birthday on March 22nd and Fr. Maciej Braun celebrated his 46th birthday on May 14th. They both look young for their age!

I kept teasing Br. Michael that he was now “one of us” and in no time he would be in “middle age.” He looked concerned! We had a few gifts and a nice meal for him to make things go more smoothly in his “advancing age!”

Of course, we also had a cake and ice cream to celebrate Br. Michael’s birthday.

It is always a difficult decision about where to make the cut in the cake when it has a photo of you on the top! Sometimes you need help to decide.

We invited a few of the teachers from the school to join us in the celebration. Here is pictured the principal of the Resurrection pre-primary and primary school (black shirt), Dixon, and one of Michael’s teaching friends, Elias (white shirt).

Brother Michael serves as a catechist at the Nyaburundu Outstation. He also is the Physical Education teacher for the primary school students, with about nine classes in the gymnasium each week. In addition, he organizes the altar servers and looks after everything in the sacristy. He is the one who makes sure that Fr. Yohana, Fr. Maciej, and I can each take all that we need to celebrate the Eucharist in the small Christian communities each Saturday. To top things off, he assists Elias to coach the football (soccer) team in the parish.

I particularly admire the relationship that Br. Michael has with the secondary school altar servers. Often, when they get a bit older, they lose interest or think it is not “cool” to keep serving. But Michael has found a way to keep them as servers, encouraging them to help him with the younger servers, who really look up to the older boys.

Fr. Maciej was a young priest when he first came to Tanzania about twenty years ago. It is amazing, however, what he has accomplished in these years. Once he moved to Buhemba, he built the St. John Paul II church, organized the seven outstations, built the residence for Resurrectionists to live, and built the Resurrection pre-primary and primary school. In addition, he has built a radio station, a gymnasium, and an athletic field. Current projects include the new Resurrection secondary school—scheduled to open in January 2025—and renovations to the athletic field. Two words: WOW! AMAZING!

Fr. Maciej bday 1

We started Fr. Maciej’s birthday celebration with Mass in the morning. People were very happy to celebrate this day with him!

Fr. Yohana preached at the Mass on the day of Fr. Maciej’s birthday.

We had a nice group of people who came to celebrate with us on this occasion.

Two of Fr. Maciej’s good friends were visiting from Poland: Renata and Martian.

We had another wonderful cake, complete with photos of Fr. Maciej…making the cutting of the cake even more difficult!  A photo worth taking and keeping!

One can only hope that the photo of the Superior General, Fr. Paul Voisin, will not be the place where the cake is cut! Oh my!

Fr. Maciej bday 16
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