A VISIT TO FADUGU PARISH
After spending a week in Freetown, I asked to go to Fadugu for two weeks (26 October-10 November) in order to see and learn from what the confreres are doing in this mission environment. Fadugu Is one of the four parishes cared for by the xaverian missionaries in Sierra Leone. It is located a dozen miles from Kabala on the road that links Kabala to Makeni.
Arriving on Thursday, we set for a three day visit to an outstation called Kasanikoro, three and half hours distant from Fadugu. Five of us were taking part in this trip: Father Martin, myself, Mr. Lamin the catechist, and two young students and aspirants of the Xaverians in Fadugu David and Joseph. Along the trip we stopped by a Muslim village to greet the imam and the Muslim community. After three and a half hour trip, during which father Martin used constantly the first and second gear because of the bumps and holes, we finally arrived in Kasanikoro . We were welcomed by the villagers with enthusiasm and joy. They expressed it through songs, dance and warm greetings. We then settled ourselves in the church. A few minutes later, the church was filled with children eager pray and sing and learn. At 5:00 pm, the bell rang and the catechumens were divided into three groups: infants, adolescents and adults. Catechism was taught in Limba, one of the local languages. At 6:30pm we had a break from the activities. This allowed us to eat food they offered us. People, too went to their homes. They returned around 7:30 pm. The projection of the film “The martyrs of Uganda” concluded the evening.
The next day we went to another village. This was the first visit paid by the fathers to go to that village. This was decided after the people from Kamayeke pleaded and asked to have a visit from the Catholic fathers. A warm welcome awaited us: the whole village gathered around us except women because they had to prepare food also for all the guests coming from the neighboring villages. After the prayer and exhortation from Father Martin, people made several requests to the fathers, among them they asked for a well for clean drinking water, a healthcare center and a school as well. Father, after he encouraged them to remain faithful to God, explained to them that development is an enterprise that requires a lot of works from themselves. It comes little by little through time. It is does not happen like a miracle. It takes vision and effort to make it happen. In the afternoon, we returned to Kasanikoro. Then father Martin initiated a visit to the village. The purpose was to encounter most of them, beginning with the chief. We went through the village as far as the church, passing by every house to greet and encourage Christians and Muslims alike. In the evening we continued catechism, rehearsal of songs for the Sunday celebration. We concluded the activities with the projection of a movie about Moses. The visit ended on Sunday. After the Eucharistic celebration, we returned to Fadugu in the afternoon.
Another good experience was the study of the word of God. This happens with adult groups and Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) around Fadugu and other outstations. One element caught my attention: the sharing of the word of God. It consists of reading and sharing the following Sunday’s Gospel. It is a kind of lectio divina adapted to different groups. After these meditations and sharing of Gospel, the word of life was picked so that it may become the guideline of our actions during the week. The celebration ends with prayer and the blessing from the fathers.
To conclude, it has been a two week experience that helped me connect with the reality of the first announcement. People in their simplicity welcome the fathers and the word of God. In this process we notice the generosity and the availability of those who accept to become Christian. At the same time the fathers will be available to accompany them in this process of becoming Christians.