On Monday, 5th September, I made a ‘tour’ and visited Kiridu, Dinkirito and Karifasania villages. These villages are along the same road between Mongo town and Semesadu village. The scenery along the way was beautiful, though the road, especially from Mongo to Kiridu, was very bad at some points due to the hilly and rocky places and some small streams. With Honda XL 125 cc, the journey was just manageable.
Karawanie and Senekoro villages, two new communities under Mongo Bendugu Parish, celebrated the gift of first baptism for their members on 9th and 11th July 2016. A teacher and 13 students were baptised in Karawanie village and 13 students in Senekoro. These are the pioneers of Christian community in the villages which were 100% Muslim.
On the day of the feast of Pentecost (May 15th), the Lord added (Ac 2: 47) ten new members to our Christian community in the parish of Mongo Bendugu , Our lady Queen of the Apostles (Diocese of Makeni/Sierra Leone). An event which was meant to be an internal Christian community feast, ended up being a nice experience of inter religious dialogue, both for Christians and Muslims.
I came to know Fr. Marini for the first time in April 1997 when I was a postulant. That year there was a visit from the General Direction to Indonesia; the Visitors did come to see us and to spend a few days in the novitiate house of Bintaro, Jakarta . I was looking forward to meeting the General of the Xaverians and to knowing how he looked like. I imagined that the Superior General would be a priest with a long beard, tall and impressive, with an appearance that conveyed authority and personality. It happened that one Friday afternoon, while we were playing volley-ball, the ball went out of the field; all of a sudden, I saw a thin priest running to collect the ball, then he gave it back to us saying: “frater inilah bolanya” ( brothers, look here is the ball). One of the novices promptly replied: “Terima kasih Pater General” (thank you, Father General). The novice’s response took me by surprise and I said to him: “You must be joking... to call him Father General!" “He is the Superior General of the Xaverians, Fr. Francesco Marini”, he replied quite assuredly.
Since my arrival in Indonesia about 4 years ago, St. Francis Assisi parish in Aek Nabara (Northern Sumatra) is my second assignment. Our community is made of 3 Xaverian priests (2 Indonesians and myself). The parish is a large one and it has 51 chapels. The suffocating heat, the muddy or dusty roads-according to the seasons-and the long distances we travel to visit those outposts hidden among rubber or oil palm plantations really make our apostolate very exhausting and challenging.
WHO DARES TO ROB THE JOY OF FARMERS?
Most people of Mongo Bendugu, including our parishioners, are farmers. There are other jobs, of course, as teacher, police officer, nurse, carpenter, fitter or trader, but they are rather few. Farming is the most common occupation of the people here. I imagine this situation to be like at the time of Jesus, as we read in the Gospel, where he tells many parables about the life of the farmers or farming activity (Mat 13:1-23.24-30.31-32; 20:1-16; 21:33-46; Mr 4:26-29, John 15:1-17). The rainy season is the time when they work with all their heart and soul as farmers. Now is the time of farmers! It is a blessed time when they give themselves totally to farming work, in order not to miss the opportunity to produce a good harvest for the survival of their families and communities.
Do you know that in Limba culture, the Hurebaŋ is fundamental? Hurebaŋ means initiation or “society”. Every young man who has shown signs of human maturity according to Limba tradition must go to the Hurebaŋ. Listening more and talking less is one of signs of human maturity in Limba culture. The Hurebaŋ is also a great sign of belonging to Limba tribe. How do they organize the Hurebaŋ? This question will help us to show the processes of the initiation in Limba culture.
Missionaries are still needed in Sierra Leone. This need became evident in a Course, organized by the Centre for Social Transformation of the University of Makeni (Unimak), for five days (4th-08th April 2016). Held in the Fatima Campus, the course was attended by more than 50 people, laymen and laywomen, religious men and women, and diocesan priests, pastoral agents from the dioceses of Bo, Freetown and Makeni.
In the old days (pre-Vatican time) it was normal to refer to the offering of the Mass as SAYING THE MASS ("dire la Messa") by the priest, and HEARING THE MASS (ascoltare la Messa") on the part of the congregation. It was mostly a quiet, private, personal act of piety (as it was called). Vatican 2 operated a kind of revolution in this regard. It introduced the term CELEBRATION.