Sunday, August 21, 2011
Unlike novitiates in former times, we are not isolated from “the world”. Interaction with the people and culture around us is an important part of our development as individuals and as a community. So it was that on the 9th of July we had a group of Tamale Secondary School (TAMASCO) students visiting our community. The group is part of the Catholic Society in TAMASCO and they wanted to know something about the mysterious community of young men living near them. There were many interesting questions asked by the students. Their questions were mainly about who we are as aspiring Christian Brothers, what we do and how we live our life. After a short welcome, two novices took them for a quick tour around our compound. We then continued the program with a welcome by our Director, Br. Tony Shanahan. After that, we had a brief presentation by one of the novices about the history of the Christian Brothers, our ministry and formation and our numbers and presence around the world. Four novices then gave testimonies about how they came to know the Brothers in their various countries. They also shared with us their struggles and convictions regarding the call to Christian Brotherhood. There were many interesting stories and they seemed to make a positive impression on the young audience. The students asked many questions regarding the vow of poverty, not getting married, requirements for joining, the challenges we face as Brothers, where we get our money from to do our ministry and – not surprisingly in Africa – who does the cooking for the Brothers. There were other technical questions that we could not answer as novices but we were rescued thanks to our two formators, Br. Kevin and Tony. We ended our program with light refreshments and time to chat with each other. It was a very special moment for us as we enjoyed the students’ company and friendship.
One week later we welcomed some of them back to our community but this time it was for a different purpose. It was for a friendly game with their football team, which turned out to be a tough assignment for us. We struggled to keep our younger, quicker opponents out of our territory. Despite the support of Bros. Kevin and Tony, and our visitor and assistant coach, Br. Joe Mosely, we went down 4-0. The spirit of the game was competitive but friendly. We all enjoyed this first time to play together as a team against external opposition.