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Pentecost at St.Gabriel Parish


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03/06/2009: Mozambique


PentecostOur Pentecost started with a vigil. Different Basic Christian communities came from different directions carrying banners, placards of the names of their communities and candles At the beginning was the recitation of the rosary which was sandwiched by singing Marial hymns. Religious congregations were attached to one of these Basic Christian Communities. We were attached to the Immaculate Conception. We did not have time conscious as we had agreed and therefore we arrived at different times and not at the set time. However, the singing with a bit of procession dancing as we loudly sang the Pentecostal songs as we approached the parish square signaled all aspects and ambient of the feast.

When all the groups had arrived we entered into the parish. Empty benches show that others are still entering. It was full and others kept standing.

Soon after we were entertained in a prayerful manner to a Resurrection drama. It was like closing the Easter season. It too about thirty minutes. Time factor did not rob our attention. Drama is an effective means to draw people’s attention and where possible it should be employed when we want to put across an important message. It makes us alert to see the next scene.

After a while we were told to meet by groups and eat our packed supper. Unfortunately we did not carry our own and therefore we had to go back to the community. As we were leaving our turn of adoration was not known and we fixed ourselves at 3.00 a.m to finish at 4.00 a.m. To tell the truth and shame the devil, we missed to accompany our Small Christina Community group because we did not attend a general adoration moment. We thought it was not necessary since we had fixed our time with them. When we arrived at 2.00 a.m. our group had already done adoration at 1.00 a.m. However , we took advantage of joining another group at our scheduled time and we were happy with the whole animation by the laity. We said if the laity are better informed, they will not need us into the animation of the liturgy.

As adoration was going on in turns in the parish that you see, in the hall, few metres from the chapel, different social activities were being staged. It was wonderful to see young people passing important messages to us all through drama accompanied by singing. Drama reveal the social reality of the people and areas where conversion is still an issue. The sacrament of Confession was staged with real life experiences of the people, especially the youth.

It was both entertaining and educative.

Then followed the time of the solemn Mass. The vigil did not kill the active participation in the Mass. The singing and music accompanying it was well chosen and heart touching. It had full of emotional spices which provoked us to stand and dance with gestures of the whole body but uniformly done. Women added the flavour through ululations, and the young boys and girls stole the show in the liturgical dances. Who could sleep in such an active participatory of the Mass? No one. We looked as alive as if we did sleep. We could feel the whole Pentecost was with us again and its spirit still active and alive. It was a moving experience and language issue was not a barrier. It was wonderful and memorable. It is my prayer that such moments should not be coming only once in our church but many times. We need the Holy Spirit to gift us diversely and yet feel that aspect of being complementary. When we follow the Holy Spirit, our common language will be LOVE and this gift can turn the world into a family of brothers and sisters, and wipe out all wars and divisions that have separated us for centuries and turned us into CAINs. Listen to the news, how many countries are still at civil even now? How many are trying their nuclear weapons of mass destruction, looking for an opportunity to kill their brothers and sisters savagely as if they were animals? If Love , the fruit and gift of the Holy Spirit is resisted, our world will be a terrorizing society and fratricidal wars will never come to an end. Let us allow the Holy Spirit to transform us into a family of God’s children where love dissolves all that divides us and turn erases all elements that make us into perpetual enemies of our very dear brothers and sisters in Christ. With Love, to have enemies will be strange and not appropriate in our relationships with our enemies. With love an enemy becomes my brother and my sister. And we do not say like Cain, “ Am l my brother’s keeper ?” Yes, love makes us to be our brothers and sisters keepers.

Simeon Banda, fms, Matola.

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