I would like to share with you some of my lived experience these days in one of the communities begun in the last 2 years, in a place where there was no Catholic Church. This place is called Mangumo II.
In these two years the Community has grown a lot and with great commitment and autonomy they have sought a suitable place, and have cleaned and built their own chapel with local materials.
Every Sunday they gather to pray, and every time there is a meeting for training in the area, they participate with great interest and enthusiasm.
This week, we had a training session for Holy Week. The leader is called Jaime and, along with four other people, the ones who know how to read and who normally lead the celebrations, he has received adequate training to act as guide for these days. The rest of the Community (about 30 adults and as many children and adolescents) has attended thecatechetical meetings, learning the appropriate songs for these days.
These were intense and beautiful days; one felt the newness of the first communities!
A confirmation of this was the experience related to me by Jaime, at dusk on the first day.
Some months ago, I learned that a neighbor was sick (you must know that the nearest health care facility is 27 km. away and there is no type of vehicle for getting there, for this reason, many times, the simplest diseases can lead to death, for lack of care). The gentleman in question is called Elias.
Elias is an old man, and was gravely ill that day. All his children, coming from various places, had gathered in his house to give him a final farewell. Despite the “please do not pray with us” (thus they speak when a person goes to another church), Jaime, at the celebration the following Sunday, invited all the community to go and pray for the old man. They gathered at his house and asked permission to pray. His children accepted but advised them to not let the children enter because he was very ill and they might be upset by seeing him.
Entering the “pallota” (house), they saw that the eldest son was sitting next to him, supporting his head so that he could listen, for he was very weak. The whole community sang and prayed with great faith and was then dismissed.
During the afternoon they notified the leader that Elias was now sitting up and had asked for something to eat! Jaime had no doubts, and the next day they returned to pray and so, towards the end of the week, Mr. Elias was standing! Since then he has begun to join the Community and continues every day with health and so much joy.
As I listened I got “goose bumps” since he told the story with the genuineness of one who cannot renounce the celebration of the Works of God.
And as another sign of the simplicity and depth of this community, Jaime finished his story saying, “But, I have a worry, sister. What I want to ask is that there, at Muvamba, you continue to pray for us. We have many temptations here. There are many churches that want to convert people, so please pray a lot that we might persevere.” Such humility and awareness that everything is an awesome Grace! For this reason I also ask you to pray for this community and for the others who are starting their journey: Manhicane B, Balata, Mugazela and Marilane. Thank you very much!!! A big hug and a fruitful Holy Week to all! May His Love renew our Faith and our daily devotion. We remain united.
(Translation: Fr. Joseph P. Dorcey, CSsR)