Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Off to Africa
Our Favorite Ice Cream Place
The Street Market in Trastevere
Sending Off Mass
Sending Off Mass
I hope that you are all well, looking forward to the Fall, the new school year and other new adventures.
This will be my last posting before I depart for Africa early tomorrow morning. We volunteers have been wrapping up formation in the last couple of weeks and making final preparations for our departures. Last night we had a “sending off” Mass with the Sisters followed by a celebration. We read our prayer of commitment (posted below), lead the music and receive our mission crosses from the Mother General of the Canossians. It was a meaningful way to bring closure to our summer of formation.
On Wednesday, Sr. Salomé and I will take the 6:30 flight from Rome to Brussels, and then fly from Brussels to Kampala, Uganda. We should arrive at 10:00 p.m. and be met by some Canossian Sister there who will host us for the night. The following day, or maybe the day after, we will fly to Arua, Uganda, by light plane where some Sisters from Aru will pick us up to cross the border into Congo by car. Madre Tina the provincial head will not be traveling with Salome and me as she had planned, but will arrive a couple of weeks after we do.
I will do my best to post a blog update soon after my arrival in Congo. There is internet/e-mail access at the mission site albeit intermittent and unreliable. I will also have a cell phone. The plan is to buy an African SIM card in Kampala. Then I can post the number on my blog. Former volunteers have told me that calling from Africa to the States is expensive, calling from the States to Africa is less so, and text messaging is relatively cheap. I’ll have to experiment a little bit when I get there. I will also post a mailing address on my blog after discussing with the Sisters the logistics and reliability of the mailing system.
The Canossians will celebrate fifty years of missionary service in Congo this September 15. I hear we’re in for a big party. Hopefully, I can post pictures.
Thank you all for you accompanying me in this journey of mission, for your encouragement and your prayers.
Our Lord God, with great gratitude for your abundant gifts to us, we offer ourselves to You as we go to mission:
We promise to remain in You, through prayer, meditation and constant openness to your loving Presence in our lives.
Prayer of Promise
We promise to allow You to form us through reflection on Scripture, through spiritual direction and through reflecting on experiences in mission with spiritual eyes.
We promise to love one another in our communities, living out our vision for mission together, in simplicity and solidarity with the local people.
We promise to faithfully serve others following the example of St. Magdalene of Canossa and St. Josephine Bakhita using all the gifts of mind, body and spirit that You have given us.
We promise to be your friends by doing what you have commanded us to do.
That we may have the strength, courage, wisdom and faithfulness to fulfill these promises,
St. Magdalene of Canossia, pray for us.
St. Josephine Bakhita, pray for us.
St. Francis of Assisi, pray for us.
St. Anthony, pray for us.
St. Therese of the Little Flower, pray for us.
Our Mother at the Foot of the Cross, pray for us.
All Saints in heaven, pray for us.
And we ask all of you here present to pray for us today and throughout our time in mission.