Saturday, February 20, 2010

"Make a Joyful Noise unto the Lord"

During my stay in Abuja, I asked Msgr Jean-Sylavain at the Nunciature if it would be possible for me to celebrate Sunday Mass at a local parish. He very graciously arranged it at Holy Trinity Church with the Pastor Fr. Joji. It was a wonderful experience of prayer and celebration.

Here you see the fine servers and ministers for the Mass. Fr Joji, who is just to my right, picked out a very fancy chasuble for me to wear. The servers carried out their ministries with great reverence and competence, making the Celebration beautiful and inspiring.

During the Offertory, large baskets are placed in the aisles and everybody goes and places their own offering in the basket. Lots of singing and motion during this procession with people often dancing as they proceed down the aisle with great joy in giving God their gifts.

That morning there was a special event for the Catholic Women's group who you can see here seated together. As with our CWL in Canada, these women give great service and support to the work of the Church in Africa.

The people dress up for Mass on Sunday. For them it is a very special and important event. There are also lots of children around giving great hope for the future of the Church and of society there.

During the Mass there is great solemnity and reverence. When the servers use the symbols of prayer such as the incense here, there is not holding back on the gift to God.

Beside me here at the Altar is the pastor Fr. Innocent Joji who was very warm and welcoming to Fr. Callie and myself.

Fr. Callie also concelebrated the Mass with me as you can see here. The Mass was not quite two hours long, which could be considered a bit short by African standards. The people joyously celebrate their faith. At this Mass there was a second collection at the end, which involved another big procession with some very energetic music and much dancing as the gifts were given. No rush here to get out of Church. I found that very edifying. The Catholic people here love to celebrate the Eucharist and are both reverent and greatly respectful and also joyful and exuberant in their praise of God.
I received an email today from Bishop Okeke, my host for my trip, telling me about his Masses on Ash Wednesday: over 5,000 people for the first Mass in the morning and even more at the evening Mass!
With my first Celebration of the Eucharist in Africa, I was looking forward now to experiencing more of this vibrant faith.


Pierre O'Reilly said...

A great post, Archbishop Daniel. I always enjoy reading your blog and these ones about your trip to Africa have been particularly enjoyable. Reading this last one I can almost hear the music and smell the incense! We have much to learn from their celebration of Mass, not that we need to imitate how they do it, but we can certainly imitate how they put their hearts into it.

bahlbi said...

Dear Brother May God our father the lord Jesus Christ gives you peace and love.
Just I want to ask how can I get any sponsorship to Canada I am Eritrean citizen I left Eritrea before 6 years ago because of my faith and I live in Sudan under UNHCR after I left Sudan and going to Egypt and now I am living in Egypt under UNHCR would you please help me how can I get any one how help me for sponsorship.

And this is my mail adders