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First Year Novices at Matola Novitiate

19/02/2010: Mozambique

The 13th February 2010 at Matola Novitiate, Southern African Province, Mozambique, will be marked as a cassocks day for the new novices. From your right you see Farai Murutu Lynot( Zimbabwe), followed by Emmanuel Mwenya( Zambia), third is Gemusse Dias Enesto( Mozambique), fourth is Catole Carlos Alberto( Mozambique), fifth is Daniel Jariosse Joao( Mozambique) and the sixth is Talent Makanga( Zimbabwe). At the mean time we have six but we are still waiting for two Malawians stuck in Malawi because of passports unresolved issues which might take longer to get and one Zambian who is temporary called back for a Confirmation paper issue and we hope he comes soon according to Brother Kasongo´s information. “.. eles deixaram tudo e seguiram Jesus!”, they left everything to follow Jesus in the Marist way. Parabéns!

I want to say that we made the celebration very simple and we invited only Father Alex who is also our chaplain and six candidates of his order. We fitted well in our small chapel when the Holy Mass started exactly at 11.00 o’clock a.m.

After the entrance hymn we saw Novice Davy, a second year novice making a brief introduction and calling the master, Brother Norbert, to give details of the event we were marking. The weather was extremely hot and if you had to collect sweat from the twenty of us gathered in the chapel, it would have been enough to take a good bath. This is just to say that the weather invited sweating.

Our first reading from Exodus 3: 1-12, giving details of the call of Moses. The novices will mark this day as their burning bush with fire that keeps burning. A vocation should be afire that never stops burning in us. The Gospel came from Mark 1: 14 – 20. Novices like Andrew, Peter, John and James will have to leave everything and find their security only in Jesus. But like the rich young man at times they may find it very hard to do so. But that is exactly what Jesus asks all of us who decide to follow him more closely and more nearly through consecrated life. The priest stressed the significance of this stage of their formation as the initiation into religious life. He urged them to stick to their decisions which at times will be challenged as grass looks greener on the other side of the fence. After the brief homily, we saw the cassocks ritual, each one with his own cassock going out to put it on. When they just entered, Brother Antonio Pisco introduced hand –clapping ritual as if saying welcome to the fold.. Boas vindas!

We took turns to congratulate each of them through a Marist Congratulations (Parabéns) hug spiced by our rare smiles which revealed our untold joy. It was like welcoming an extra child in the family which always awakens the sleeping joy in the hearts of the entire family.

The Eucharistic celebration continued only after the intercessory prayers. Imagine all of us shared in both the Body and Blood of Christ.

At the very end we had a thanksgiving song and the chaplain invited all of us to dance as a visible expression of our joy. The chapel for while turned into a liturgical dancing hall where everybody gently shook his body with charged emotions of joy and happiness but in a respectful manner. There were no exaggerations at all in the rhythmic movement of the bodies.

Lastly we had a short moment for photo taking and within fifteen minutes we saw ourselves in the dining hall for a very simple meal with drinks both soft and hard ones.
The music on the background added an extra flavour to the celebration and seemed to attract the attentions of the passers-by. All the new novices feel at him and have a sense of belonging. They do not just feel at home but they are actually at home. After the meal they wanted to demonstrate their dancing styles with their invited friends. We, the staff and our chaplain left them in the hall and sat under a shady tree which provided us with a cool breeze to break the monotony of the heat.

After a while, our chaplain called it a day and we dispersed with fond memories of the day.

Let us join these young novices in prayer. Novitiate is a very important period in our life and deserves the accompaniment of prayers. We, as the staff pledge to accompany each one of them individually and ask you all to pray for us so that we may not exhaust our patience with them. We hope we shall be paternal as Champagnat proposed to Jean Claude Courveille. Bravo our novices and know that you are in the prayers of our dear Brothers and Laity who share our unique charism in the church . Courage and we ask you only good will like Champagnat asked all candidates in the early times as your start your serious discernment. Carry as your motto: “ Backward never, forward ever.” God bless you.

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Simeon Banda, fms, Matola, Mozambique.

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