Thursday, May 10, 2012

Sunday Masses on the Road in Imurok

The road to Imurok.
On Sunday, May 7, I accompanied Fr. Chris, MSP, the two seminarians (Richard and Dennis) staying with him, and four youth to celebrate Mass at the outstations in the area of Imurok that he has been visiting regularly now for several weeks. The first stop was in Goronyo, a community that is just getting organized. Fr. Chris had stopped by once or twice before to meet the Christians there, help them begin to prepare for Mass by practicing parts like the "Lord Have Mercy," "Gloria," "Holy, Holy," and other hymns in their local language of Lotuko. Some members of the de-mining team (removing land mines left over from the war) working in the area and camping next door joined us for Mass.

The large tree in front of the school in Goronyo where Mass was celebrated.

The de-miners camp.
Fr. Chris and Martha (a youth translator) in the classroom preparing for Mass.

After Mass we packed up and headed south toward Kurmush, only to find a cement causeway over a seasonal waterway blocked by trees that fell during the heavy rains and accumulated on the current side of the causeway, obstructing the water from flowing through the opening below and causing it to swell and overflow the causeway. Fortunately, a road crew was already present, clearing the logs. 

The blocked bridge between Goronyo and Kurmush.
The large log pictured in the clip below had to be cut first, since it was causing the rear tires of the crane truck to lift off the ground.

Since the clearing took a while, an alternative route was taking by some people, and some very uncertain and unwilling goats. I think there's a lesson for us in this, about trusting the Good Shepherd to point us in the right direction even when it seems unfamiliar and threatening to us.

Fr. Chris and seminarian Richard caught me videoing them and hammed it up a little.

Fr. Chris, Richard and three of the youth who accompanied us.

We were a little concerned that the Christians waiting for us in Kurmush may have become discouraged and gone home, but we were really inspired to find them still waiting for us under the tree for Mass.

The chapel in Kurmush.

The sanctuary and altar in Kurmush.
I was even more edified when I saw how carefully this newly organized community prepared for Mass by building a small shelter for the sanctuary and carefully practicing the songs for Mass, such as the Gloria (in Lotuko) below, which has very beautiful men's and women's harmonies.

Last Sunday was an exceptionally beautiful, clear, fresh, cool day. And celebrating Mass in Kurmush, with the green hills, bananas and palms in the background, with little children watching the white priest with wide-eyed wonder, was one of those vivid "missionary moments" for me. I couldn't help but wondering how amazing it was that the Gospel of Jesus preached by Jewish fishermen had somehow reached this remote part of Africa two millennia later.

The offertory.

A view from the rear during the closing hymn.

1 comment:

  1. I love the video of the Gloria! A little glimpse of the universal Church. Thanks for sharing, Padre!