Christ's Light Bringing Hope
Rev. Christopher Letikirich, C.S.C.
During the Year of the Family in the Diocese of Mbulu, Tanzania, a candle representing Christ’s Light had been lit in the cathedral, and from that candle the Light had been carried to each parish. To culminate the year, we decided that each of the 82 Small Christian Communities of St. Brendan Parish Kitete should light their own candle from the parish’s candle and carry the light to every member’s home. The visit would include the reading of the Word of God and a conversation with the family on their practice of faith – their family prayer, their participation in the sacraments, and any need present for reconciliation.
This simple exercise of a personal visit from their neighbors focused on the difference that Christ’s Light can make in our families was a powerful source of hope for many. We witnessed tearful reconciliations and the return of many to the sacraments. In Magena, the most remote outstation of our parish, 10 young couples were helped by these visits to request the Sacrament of Marriage. We organized these 10 weddings within one liturgy, and the entire village celebrated the day with prayer, ululations, song, dancing, and plenty of food. It was a taste of God’s Kingdom!
St. Brendan’s Parish coveres a vast geographical area with very poor roads that become almost impassable in the rainy season. While our ministry focuses on liturgical, catechetical and pastoral activities, we also share in the daily challenges of our parishioners’ poverty. Tanzania, though naturally beautiful and politically peaceful, is one of the poorest countries in the world. In simple ways, such as the celebration of the Year of the Family, and through more institutional ways, such as a technical school and a medical dispensary, we seek, in the words of Blessed Basile Moreau, to engage in a “work of resurrection.”
Fr. Christopher Letikirich, C.S.C., is a member of the District of East Africa (Kampala, Uganda).