Last evening we had a very constructive and fruitful meeting of the Parochial Executive Council. Planning the Year of the Faith and highlights of this time of grace. For us, in Kiabakari, this special period of the history of mankind means a lot as it coincides with a few events of heavy caliber which need careful and thorough planning and execution...
This Saturday we will hold Parochial Pastoral Council meeting which will lay out a road map for us to follow in the celebration of the Year of the Faith and its major events.
Apart from the spiritual, liturgical and pastoral program of the Year, we will discuss the best ways to organize seven major feasts coming up in the span of one year from now.
First, the final vows of Sr. Stella Matutina, a daughter of one of our parishioners, on December 8, 2012, in Makoko Novitiate church of Immaculate Heart Sisters of Africa. As a parochial community we want to participate fully in this important event. We want to thank God for her vocation and for enriching our parochial community with this precious vocation, praying and wishing Sister Stella Matutina all the best in the widest meaning of this word.
This is the first major goal of the Year of the Faith.
Once we are through the Christmas time and rainy season, we will have a second major event of the Year of the Faith - a four days long parochial popular mission, which has been already postponed two times because of various reasons - mainly because of me falling sick two years ago (flying to Poland for treatment) and the death of my Dad just recently.
I hope this time nothing will prevent us from preparing successful popular mission, which will enrich and enliven our faith and will make it visible through our lives and deeds and the witness of our genuine Christian life in joy and courage.
I would love to plan the popular mission for the beginning of the Lent 2013 as we are getting ready for the third major event of the Year of Faith - Golden Jubilee of our catechist, Mzee Benjamin Ndege, who started his catechist's career back in March of 1963. The date for this event has been planned for March 3, 2013.
Then, the Holy Week, Holy Triduum, Easter and Novena to Divine Mercy before the Divine Mercy Sunday will come.
This will prepare us (without diminishing the greatest importance of Easter for the Church whatsoever!) for the fourth event of the Year - an annual pilgrimage of the faithful from in and outside of Tanzania. The celebration of Divine Mercy Sunday in Kiabakari takes three days, from Friday to Sunday itself, with pilgrims participating in the rich program of the event. This sometimes for us constitutes a logistical nightmare and demands a special effort from all of us to pull it out successfully. In the Year of the Faith I am sure the number of pilgrims will be much more higher.
Once we are through the Divine Mercy Sunday, which falls on April 7, 2013, we will get ready for the celebration of my personal double jubilee. On April 22, 2013, I will turn fifty. On this day we decided to combine my birthday with the Silver Jubilee of my priesthood (which falls on May 22, 2013). Because I will join my classmates in Poland for the retreat and the Jubilee celebration in May, we will celebrate the jubilee together with my birthday.
This will be the fifth event of the Year. And I designed it not only as a thanksgiving to God Almighty for the gift of vocation, priesthood and twenty five years of my service in the Church and the world, but also as the celebration of my friendship with so many great people I was blessed to meet on the path of my life in those past twenty five years.
The Jubilee celebrations in Poland - with my classmates and in my home parish - will not be discussed on Saturday during our meeting, as they fall out of our jurisdiction and field of our responsibility. They will be planned with my friends and classmates in Poland.
The sixth major event of the Year of the Faith will be our parochial pilgrimage to Namugongo in Uganda to the Shrine of Uganda Martyrs. Kiabakari Parish was born out of Zanaki Parish which is dedicated to Uganda Martyrs. So we deem fit and proper to go there where the Patron Saints of our Faith lived and witnessed to Christ through their martyrdom, to the Ugandan Martyrs, to pray through them to God to increase and enliven our faith. This will be done sometime in June 2013, once I come back from Poland from the Jubilee celebrations.
The seventh and the last major event of the Year of the Faith will be the Ordination to Diaconate and the Priesthood of our parishioner, Frater Agostino Mapambano, and Frater William Bahitwa of Musoma Cathedral (who is with us at the moment till Diaconate). This event will comprise of three parts. First, the Diaconate in Makoko Seminary church, on January 25, 2013. We will take part fully in it. Then, the Ordination Mass in Kiabakari, which proposed date (to be approved by the Bishop of Musoma, after Diaconate) will be, hopefully, July 11, 2013. And the Thanksgiving Mass at home, two days after, on Saturday, July 13, 2013.
After that I will be taking a short sabbatical leave till the end of the year 2013, to finish the Year of the Faith on more personal, spiritual note as the fruit of the Silver Jubilee year.
Well, this is a road map of the Year of the Faith, set by us, humans, which needs God's approval and blessing. As Christ said in the Gospel to His disciples - 'Without me, you cannot do anything'. Especially something of this magnitude. We will pray in humility, with hearts full of hope and peace, knowing that 'nothing is impossible to God'.
Your prayers are extremely important for us in this time of grace and challenge. I wish to thank all of you who will support us with their priceless prayers as we toil hard to make it happen, for the greater glory of Triune God, for the benefit of the Holy Church and our own salvation.
Jesus, I trust in You!