By Fr. Chibesa C, OMI St. Michael’s Parish, Kalabo-Zambia
The faithful of St. Michael’s came together to celebrate the feast of their patron saint, St. Michael, the archangel. This is an annual event for St. Michael’s parish. The feast was celebrated during school holidays to allow teachers and school going children to participate in this faith event. The celebration was held from August 22nd to 25th, 2019.
The parish adopted the theme of the universal church – “Baptized and Sent”. A talk was given to the faithful on the Extraordinary Missionary Month October 2019 and the forthcoming activities lined up in the month of October. This coming together was a time of renewal for each one of us and the parish as a whole.
Each time we gathered to pray, we were reminded that we are “baptized and sent”. We carry the good news of Christ. As missionaries, the message we carry and must share is the message of Christ, announcing the kingdom of God. The gathering was, by and large a call to prayer. We celebrated the Eucharist together. We Spent time praying the rosary and had one hour adoration, a time we spent in silence to thank the Lord who sends us each day to announce his kingdom by our lives.
Before, during and after the feast, we constantly sought the intercessions of our patron saint, St. Michael, the archangel and Mary our mother that our brothers and sisters be protected from all harm as they covered long distances to and from St. Michael’s Catholic Church, the venue for the celebration. The shortest distance covered by some of the parishioners was 7 km and the longest being 70 km, on foot, just to attend this faith event. Some suffered swollen feet and they had to be picked by the parish vehicle in the middle of the night. For most of them to make this journey of faith, to and fro, after covering half the distance, they had to sleep over in the villages and continue their journey early morning. Not even the hunger situation brought about by the drought in the last farming season would deter them from attending the Parish Feast. One would expect their participation to be low due to fatigue, but upon arrival, their involvement in all lined up activities was amazing. Same evening of arrival, they gathered to sing hymns and songs of praise. Another evening was dedicated to giving faith testimonies, on their encounter with missionaries and how they have been missionaries themselves.
The feast was not without entertainment. We had poetry by the youth and children. Different groups took turns to showcasing their talent through drama, traditional dances (also Likishi) and singing.
The feast was concluded with Sunday Mass with a reminder to all that we are “Baptised and Sent”.