Paul’s Two-Year Spiritual Journey
Maro sat in front of his house in Kenyamonta Village in Western Tanzania. Something was bothering the 79-year-old elder who belonged to a traditional African religion. It was the priest’s question: “Why don’t you be baptized a Catholic?” At first Maro laughed at the question, but after more thought he decided to enter the two-year adult catechumenate. The two years went by quickly. He learned a lot about the seven sacraments and the church as a “community of believers” — something he had heard his children and grandchildren talk about for many years. He liked especially the weekly meetings of his Small Christian Community with the Bible sharing and lively discussion about religion. During the official “Rite of Initiation” Maro formally chose his new name Paul.
Finally April came and the final preparations during Holy Week. Everyone praised Paul for persevering during his two-year spiritual journey. As the water was poured over his head at the Holy Saturday Easter Vigil Paul was overcome with emotion and said to himself: “Yes, now I am a Christian.” Then all 38 newly baptized went out of the church to change from their old clothes into white garments symbolizing their new life in Christ. As they returned singing and dancing, a wave of joy, happiness and enthusiastic clapping filled the whole church. After the adult baptisms Paul’s wife Theresa came up for the blessing of their marriage. As she and Paul received communion together for the first time, the beaming faces of all of Paul’s children and grandchildren were wet with happy tears. Paul clapped with everyone else and thought to himself: “I feel young. After all, I’m starting a new life”… (Story based on a true story created and told by Father Joseph Healey, M.M. and the Tanzanian people in Iramba Parish, Musoma)