Saturday, November 28, 2009

Eid Al Adha

Today all our Muslim brethren celebrate Eid Al Adha. All around town there is a festive spirit with children and adults dressed in their best flowing gowns. The town is aburst with colour. The morning air reverberated with the call for prayer from the many mosques in town reminding all of us of that moment when the Prophet Ibrahim(Abraham) did not hesitate to sacrifice his only son as an offerening in obedience to God.

According to the Holy Quran, God appeared in Prophet Ibrahim's dream and asked him to sacrifice something that was most dear to him. Prophet Ibrahim decided to sacrifice his own son, Ismail. However, when he put a knife on Ismail's throat, God replaced his son with a goat through a miracle. Consequently, it has become a tradition to slaughter livestock and feed the poor to mark the occasion.
The Bible relates a similar story telling us how God called on Abraham to sacrifice his only son Isaac. And just as Abraham was about to slaughter his only son a voice from the heavens called out saying, "Do not lay your hand on the boy. Do not do the least thing to him. I know now how devoted you are to God, since you did not withhold from me your own beloved son." We are then told that Abraham sacrificed instead a ram caught by its horns in a nearby thicket.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Open Some Doors This Advent - Joyce Rupp

Advent is a season of opening doors. It is a time to deepen and strengthen our relationship with the Holy One so that more of the divine presence within us shines through and offers a welcome to others. It is a season to open the doors of our hearts so that we can both give and receive this love. One of the ways we can do this is by seeing ourselves and others as doors through which the divine presence continually seeks an entrance...

...Our fears can keep us from opening a door that needs to be opened. There's often a price to be paid for being open: confusion, doubt, uncertainty, unsettledness, the possibility of being hurt by what others say or do to us. Opening the door to another may cost us our precious time and energy. We may have to "go the extra mile." Yet in the end, as with Mary, we receive so much more than we have given.

Read the full article 'Open some doors this Advent' by Joyce Rupp at,0

Creation Waits

Creations waits, creation waits
For you and me to be revealed.
To see at last on every face
The life of God.
Creation waits.

The Irrational Season

This is the irrational season
When love blooms bright and wild
Had Mary been filled with reason
There'd have been no room for the child

(Madelene L'Engle)

Homecoming - Joyce Rupp

Something in me is stirring
I think its the part of me
That waits in lonely exile
And yearns for a homeland.

It's the hidden part of m
That wanders aimlessly,
Stumbling in the dark,
Crying to be found.

O God of exiles and strangers
Find the homelss parts of me;
Guide them towards yourself,
For you are my Promised Land.

Take the stranger inside of me
And find familiar soil for it
Keep me mindful of the Emmanuel
Whose sojourn brought a glimpse of home.

Monday, November 23, 2009

To Wa!

On Friday 14th of November, long before dawn we left for WA (Regional capital town of the Upper West Region) to witness the wedding ceremony of Cornelius’s brother. I was fortunate to accompany him.
We left Tamale at around 5am. It was wonderful, and the journey took us exactly 7hours. Having just finished a week of reflection on the New Cosmology story, I was so much more aware of the beauty of Africa. It was a long journey on dusty and lonely roads but there was no way one could even read a book because the road is really bad and I could say that the nonsense was shaken out of us.
Eventually, we arrived at our destination a half hour after noon. We received a red carpet welcome and there was this tremendous sense of joy, happiness, and celebration.
We shared our stories and the day’s experiences together! We were really tired after that shake, rattle and roll journey! Saturday was a most extravagant day as I enjoyed local dances, food and drinks. After the wedding mass we joined in the special wedding dance called “bawaa” .
I learnt and saw much more than I expected from this whole experience. I thank the Beloved and the Tamale Novitiate community for the opportunity given me to travel and see an other side of Ghana. I cannot stop talking about it, I suppose by now everybody in the house is bored but I believe for you the reader it’s something new. We were back in Tamale on Monday.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Remembering our Sister, Martha Awino (19.12.1982-21.11.2009)

The community was saddened by the news this weekend of the death of Nicholas' sister, Martha Awino.
Martha was the fifth born of Mr. Minandi’s family. Awino was born 19th December 1982 in Kisumu District, Nyanza province-Kenya. She was once married but when things things did not work out she returned to her family. She is survived by one child.
As a community we join Nicholas and the family in this hour of deep grief and sorrow. We gathered this evening to pray for the soul of Martha and that the family would find comfort in these difficult times.
We asked Why? But this question never really has an answer. But we are assured by the fact that God would really ever call someone back to union only if the person had lived ones life to its fullest.
Death is always a shock; even more so when it’s the death of young person, known to us for either a short or a long time. We have many words and few words: many words to say to each other what’s unimportant and few words to say the real, caring things we’d like to say to each other.
We came together this evening to remember a young person, a child, a sister, and a mother, to give thanks, even in our grief, for her life, to offer each other and especially those who will most miss her, the consolation of our love and concern; and to offer also the promise of eternal life.
Our consolations will be the joyful memories we have; our sadness is that a young person has gone from us, at an age we did not expect. Our sure hope is that our God will welcome her home, and that one day we will be united together in the life to come. In the depth of our loss and hope we now pray in solidarity and give thanks to God-source of life and all being.
We remember prayerfully the Minandi family, especially Nicholas, and may Martha’s soul rest in perfect peace in the gentle embrace of her ever loving God! Amen

The Harmattan is here with us!

It would be ironical to encounter this calamity without talking about it. From June we have been experiencing constant showers of rain which made life very comfortable. Alas!! Things have changed all of a sudden and there is no comfort any more.
The air is full of dust and the novices have been seriously hit with the disaster and some are coughing, sneezing or have both. To add salt to the injury, I understand it is just the beginning as the hamatter winds are expected to last for the next two months.
The plants are also not left behind. A thin layer of dust permanently covers the leaves thus making the breathing difficult for them. I presume, this problem is holistic as every living organism is being affected in one way or the other.
I hope that all of us will survive this wrath and profess God’s goodness. For those who will be visiting Tamale soon have courage.

The onset of the Harmattan winds

The Harmattan has arrived with a vengeance this year. The Harmattan is a dry and dusty West African trade wind. It blows south from the Sahara into the Gulf of Guinea between the end of November and the middle of March. On its passage over the desert it picks up fine dust particles and duly deposits them all across the land. the dust is so fine that it enters every nook and cranny.
In some countries in West Africa, the heavy amount of dust in the air can severely limit visibility and block the sun for several days, comparable to a heavy fog. The effect caused by the dust and sand stirred by these winds is known as the Harmattan haze.
In Niger, people say that men and animals become increasingly irritable when this wind has been blowing for a while, giving it a bad reputation. However, the cool wind brings relief from the oppressive heat, which is why the Harmattan has earned the nickname "The Doctor".
It hit us here in Tamale on the 16th and has blown relentlessly and incessantly ever since. The fine dust covering everyting like a skin and leaving many sneezing and sniffing. The flu and common cold are all around us. The air is crisp and dry requiring many to use creams and lotions to keep the skin from drying and chaffing. the smell of dust in ones nostrils and the taste of dust in ones mouth are constant companions and whether one likes it or not one better get used to it for its here to stay... for the next four months at least!


We greet our brothers at the Colm Keating Novitiate as they profess their first vows. We pray that God will continue to walk with you as you dare to be his disciples. For know that as much as you seek God, God seeks you. Congratulations to the 13 newly professed on this day - Lubasi Felix Simasiku (Zambia), John Paul Olouch (Kenya), John Chege Gikonyo (Kenya), John Gitonga Chabari (Kenya), Leo Alhaji Kamara (Sierra Leone), Irvine Sibanda (Zimbabwe), Joseph Mohamed Turay (Sierra Leone), George Gikonyo Kagwima (Kenya), Patrick Salia (Sierra Leone), Marvin Phiri (Zambia), Michael Chesoli Majimbo (Kenya), Eric Anguolo (Ghana), Bwalya Mubanga (Zambia).

All Souls Day

This feast comes immediately after the feast of All Saints. Over the years I have been wondering who the saints are. After all these two big celebrations, I am convinced that there are so many people all over the world who lived their lives genuinely and deserve to be canonized. For one reason or the other, they can’t be declared saints,and it is on these two days that we recall and celebrate the lives of this multitude.

As an individual, this is a big opportunity to remember all my deceased relatives and friends especially my dear mother. Like the Jews who during captivity asked themselves, “But how could we sing a song of the lord in the foreign land?’(Ps137:40). I also found my self asking the same question but in a slightly different way. How could I remember my late mother in this place far away from where she was buried? But I got a great assurance from the community that I am not the only one who has experienced such agony.

Death is a metamorphosis and a spiritual transformation that awaits us but still there is need for consolation. Margaret Ogola in her novel the river and the source said that the dead have no use for the living who eventually have to tear themselves away to continue with the business of life.

I think there is sense in this statement since the living have to continue with their lives keeping their ancestors in mind.

All in all I pray to the compassionate God to grant all the dead eternal rest and shine the perpetual light upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen

The Challenge of Ministry

I have realized ministry is not merely giving what I have but also sharing who I am. I was working in my usual ministry site despite the strike of the teachers. However during my interaction with the blind and deaf and dumb I realized the presence of one teacher who was teaching despite the government's delay with the payment of his salary.

I was not only moved with his worth while attitude to work, but also the answer he gave me when I asked him “what makes him different that he comes for work despite the strike?". The teacher said you know you can work for many hours with big payments but if whatever you do is of no certain life giving value to others, it is not worth doing it nor being paid for it.

The question that remains in me is what attitude do I take to ministry with me? Do I merely give what I have or do I share with others who I am?

Looking back at the month of October

This 10th month of the year stands out for many significant events that occurred and quite a deal of work has been done in the Novitiate community. This month has been wholesome, reflective, demanding and life giving.

On the 4th we attended the first profession ceremony of five FMM sisters. We wish them well in their lives of dedictade service to God and all God's people here in Ghana.

The second week saw Br. Richard Walsh, our Province Leader visit us. Br. Richard shared with us on the Provinces ongoing mission shift with the emphasis on the model of ‘the church of the poor.’ We were left to ponder how would we respond creatively to the emerging needs in a changing world keeping in mind the poor who are the beneficiaries of the gospel. I wish to quote Archbishop Helder Camara as we continue thinking on mission; “When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why they have no food, they call me a communist”

On the weekend of the 2nd week we gathered as the community to respond to the call to celebrate events in life, this time around it was to celebrate the lives of Frank and Chris whose birthdays were on the 11th and 13th of October respectively. Later in the month we celebrated Paul's 29th birthday.

The community hosted Susan Komis, a lay ordinary woman from USA-Contemplative Outreach(Founded by Fr Thomas Keating) who shared her God experience with the local parishioners. She talked on the spirituality of servant-leadership, The Human condition and Divine Therapy. She also addressed us on our true self and false self which at once became the grammar of the house for sometimes. I am sure all of you have your own remarkable stories which when shared can have significant impact on those listening, keep telling your stories. A few of Susan's phrases stay in mind; ‘Become avid seekers’, ‘Become what you were born for’, ‘It is not everyone who is called to join a Monastery but we all have monastic hearts (all the faithful must cultivate intimacy with God’, ‘When we are seeking God we are seeking ourselves’. She left us also with a question, ‘If you close your eyes and hear the word GOD, where do you look for God? And if God wants to hide where can s/he hide?

On our Day of recollection we pondered on the question ‘What are you looking for?’ Who are you looking for?’

24th October is one of my happiest days as the community joined the Zambians to sing the freedom song, I really felt at home on our National Day. May God bless Mother Zambia, Africa and the entire world.

Once again on the last day of the month we gathered in the evening in the local parish to honor the blessed mother of God by publicly saying the rosary and celebrating the Eucharist.