Celebrating to remember and to continue on in the journey.
If we were to tell the story about the Jubilee celebration of the Tanzanian Region, we could probably use just a few, simple words that, nevertheless, describe well this event: colors, voices, symbols, dance and song and a great desire to participate.
A Jubilee, in the mind of many, is strictly a "private" event but here we had to change our minds thanks to the large number of people who arrived on September 21 at our Regional House in Dodoma, Tanzania. In fact groups from Dar Es Salaam, Chibumagwa, Mayoni, Itigi, Morogoro underwent trips of several hours so they could share and celebrate this festivity of thanksgiving with us. So many people joined, that the mass was held outdoors under tarps protecting us from the intense sun, which even that, could not squelch the spirit and enthusiasm of the many, many people who wanted to join in giving thanks for all the sisters have done and for the profound ways their lives have been touched by ASC presence.
Of course it was also exciting to see the majority of the Tanzanian Adorers, from the first pioneers to the last professed, and even the young aspirants, gathered for the event. And to share in their excitement as they sang and danced together with great emotion. The presence of the large number of Missionaries of the Precious Blood gave solemnity to the event, recalling those historical beginnings that brought our Congregation to this land. A united Church joined together was evident in a visible manner thanks to the many priests from surrounding dioceses and the number of women religious from other congregations who came to celebrate with us. Truly it was a sign of fraternity, closeness, esteem and friendship.
Touching for all, was the unexpected participation of "mama Marisa", so beloved and known here, who with obvious emotion, retraced, although briefly, her experience in Tanzania, thanking God and her sisters for the welcome and the journey shared together.
Also the participation of Fr. Mario Dariozzi, C.PP.S. allowed us to make a "leap back in time,” to 50 years ago, when he, in his truck, went to the port of Mombasa (Kenya) to welcome the four missionaries who had come for the first time from Italy. A touching moment of this history was shared by all when four young students from “Tullia ASC Primary School” re-enacted the sisters’ journey on the boat. The Tanzanian Adorers, through song, symbol, dance and much enthusiasm, have shown a deep respect for the past and a sincere gratitude for their history.
The reason for gratitude, however, was not only for the 50 years of ASC presence in Tanzania, but it was a true "double jubilee,” as we also celebrated the 25 years of religious profession of Sr. Josephina Paul, current Regional Superior of Tanzania.
An important message was given by Rev. Beatus Kinyaiya, bishop of Dodoma and presider of the celebration, who during his homily said “a religious Jubilee is certainly a reason for joy and pride, a time of gratitude and grace, but at the same time it is a moment of re-verification in the faith journey of following Jesus Christ.”
Sr. Dani Brought, on behalf of Sr. Nadia Coppa, Superior General of the Congregation of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ and of the whole General Administration, expressed gratitude to the Lord on behalf of the congregation for the sisters who received the seed of the charism, which has now become a tree with abundant fruit. She shared that this is a time for contemplating the work of redemption, the fruit of listening to the "cry of the Blood" to which the ASC sisters in Tanzania have responded so faithfully over the years.
The celebration continued into the evening with all sharing in a delicious meal, along with presentations from all the different groups that had joined for the day, expressing their joy and gratitude to the sisters for their service for the “dear neighbor.”