The week leading up to Holy Week is not one you would associate with celebration but for us in the Zambia/Malawi region that is exactly what it was. Sr. Namunji Silishebo was committing her life to God by professing her final vows.
All roads led to Roma Parish Church for the celebration on the 8th April. Namunji, when spoken to later the following week, said how strange it felt celebrating in the morning and then praying Evening Prayer of Palm Sunday that evening. The day or time of the year did not take from the joy experienced by all that day.
Preparations began long before the event with the choir from a local small Christian community learning new hymns and a group of young girls (the Stella's) learning new movements and dances which added greatly to the celebration. We, as a Region, were also blessed to have Sr. Mary Christian present to receive Namunji's vows. Final preparations on the Friday night saw all hands on deck, each having a particular job to do and everything was ready.
April 8th dawned and as we were still in the rainy season all prayed for a few hours of sunshine and our prayers were answered. Many of Namunji's friends and friends of the Congregation joined us in witnessing the profession of vows and thanking God and her family for the gift she is to us. One lay person said after the ceremony that she was deeply touched by it all especially when Namunji lay prostrate on the floor (see picture).
The main celebrant, Fr. Leonard Namuhumba challenged us all to be connected to Jesus, to nurture vocations and not to make excuses for who we are as religious. A challenge indeed especially in some parts of our world. The Eucharistic celebration was full of life and joy with the presentation of symbols which had significant meaning for Namunji and with some sisters joining her in a thanksgiving hymn as she sang and danced her praises to God.
The celebration meal took place in Roma Secondary School where 300 guests sat and enjoyed the food but also the company and many old acquaintances were rekindled and new ones forged.
A very enjoyable day, a blessed day and one that will remain in the hearts and memories of many for a long time.