Shade and fruit (Taninga, Mozambique)

I am in Mozambique for a few days with a delegation from the USA Catholic Bishops' Conference. I have been here before but always for short meetings or the ordination of a bishop. Last Sunday, for the first time, I went to a parish outside Maputo. The archbishop of Maputo - Francisco Chimoio OFM - would preside Mass at St Isabel Parish (Taninga) and invited me to join him.

It took us about two hours to reach the parish which is 100 km outside Maputo. This was thanks to the fact that it was Sunday and we left very early to make sure we would not find much traffic.

The communities of the parish gathered at St Isabel Parish to remember Fr "Pepe" Casas de la Vega, a Spanish priest who had arrived in the parish on the feast of St Peter Claver (09 September) in 2011 and since then had been the assistant priest of the parish. He died 30 days' ago.

At the same time, two Italian volunteers Fabio and Giulia (and Ismael their child) would be going back to Italy after two years of service in the area. Each community read a farewell message thanking the generosity of their presence.

Then, Fabio and Gulia thanked everyone and shared with them what they had in their hearts. 

"We would like to leave a sign of our service here. We've chosen Cajun trees. The one who sold them to us said they will certainly give fruit and that would be a reminder of what is expected from each one of us: to give fruit. They will also give shade. It will be the place where you will be meet, the shade under which you will continue to have your meetings".

They then called the delegates from each one of the communities of the parish and entrusted them with this sign for the future.

I remained thinking that both things should always go together. There will be no fruits unless we come together to grow in faith and...  our coming together should always make us share the joy of our faith.

Click HERE for photos of the Mass

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Bishop of the Diocese of Manzini (Swaziland)

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