Tuesday, 2 January 2007


Since celebrating Mass 24 years ago for the mainly Presbyterian and traditional religion worshippers of Mbibu in Tabenken, the quarter of my birth, I went back there on 29 November to celebrate Mass at the graves of my grandparents. It was a faith inspiring celebration. I felt very highly honoured by the presence for the Mass of the Choir of Kungi Zone. A delegation of choir members also went from Binju. At the end of Holy Mass, the Quarter head who performs traditional priestly duties for his subjects submitted himself to receive my blessing. I felt very humbled and happy that my people recognise, even if only vaguely the priesthood of Jesus Christ which surpasses all other forms of priesthoods.

Of course, before Christmas the people of Kuta zone deserve a pastoral visit to prepare them for Christmas Celebration. Kuta is the most difficult to reach part of our parish. In the dry season one drives with a Suzuki Jeep as far as Mbande. Do not try to imagine the road. You have to go through the experience to know it. I cannot adequately describe it.
Any way, I got to Ande my first stop on 13 December. The little house we had been using for our Church has been taken back by its owner. Someone offered us an old little hut from which he had just removed a grinding mill to a better building. We set up a makeshift altar in this "new church" and celebrated Mass. Two people received communion at the Mass. No one went to Confession. Our dear Catechist, David has in the meantime taken a second wife! His first and properly married wife deserted him about a year ago. David tried in vain to take back his wife from someone in the same village. Now he thinks it is not possible for him to get rid of his new wife, since she is already pregnant.

I went on from Ande to Mbande where I stayed the night. As there were no people for the Mission Pastoral Council Meeting planned for that evening, I spent the remaining daylight hour searching for a spot where I could make a telephone call. Sure enough, I found one. I was able to find out about my mother who had been taken into hospital at Kumbo for surgery to remove cataract. The following morning I met a little community of some five Christians and some Catechumens and children.
It is at Mbande we tried with the people to build a modest little house for the priests who visit the area. Pat's donation last April was put into aluminium sheets for the house. The back wall of the house collapsed in the rain before we could get the aluminium sheets on the rafters. The people assured me they would build back the collapsed wall before my next pastoral visit. Once we are able to us our "Fathers' House" at Mbande, we can afford to stay there for a week or two and visit the neighbouring villages from Mbande. From there one must trek to the other villages.

This last time, like in my previous visits, it took 2 hours of trekking time to Jevi from Mbande. I spent the night at Jevi in a dilapidated "catechists' House" Father Meulemans built after building the cement block Church dedicated to Lady, Mother of the Church. But I still had only one person for Confession the next morning, and two people for communion.

We did not get crowds at our Christmas Masses as one would have expected. The night Masses are losing popularity because thieves generally break into homes when people leave them to go to night mass.

The year ended with some of our parish participating in the Wedding Mass at Kumbo for Makelia and Ephriam. I wish we had been able to bring the entire parish to witness the wedding. We have not had any Christian Marriage in the parish during the last year. In past years there have been very few marriages, and even those few were mostly by people who come to the parish because of their job and stay for a short time only. The local people just have not yet caught up with Christian Marriage.

Kungi Community are still far from realising their new Church project as our application was turned down in Cologne. We continue to worship in the old Church which is giving way by the day. In spite of the poor state of the Church building, Kungi Church, which is the people, is a truly celebrating Church.


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