Called to Witness Nigeria

Called to Witness in Nigeria, Day Four

In April, the 2008 Called to Witness group will travel to Nigeria to see Catholic Relief Services responding to poverty and fostering peace. Check back in the weeks ahead for postings to our travelogue, telling the story of our journey and pilgrimage to Nigeria. If you are interested in learning more about Called to Witness visit the Called to Witness homepage.

Our fourth entry in the travelogue is written by David Gallant, from St. Mary of the Annunciation Parish & National Association of Catholic Youth Ministry Leaders.

music and drum in NigeriaAfter mass, Thomas Hargis joins in the dance of the music and drum troupe that led music during the liturgy

Never in my life have I met a people who truly knew what Church was! We were truly blessed to be able to celebrate mass today with the parishioners of St. Jon Bosco. It was an exciting experience to see how alive the faith is here in Jos. The community celebrates their faith in a way that I have never seen in all my travels throughout America, Canada, and in Europe. For many of us on the team, we shared with each other how the celebration touched us in a way that brought us closer to God.
Mass here is such an integral aspect of the lives of Catholics. Music was celebratory as the beating of the drums echoed through our hearts. People gathered at least a half hour before mass began to sing and dance in anticipation of receiving Jesus. The parishioners here have experienced the horror of inter-religious violence, but have held onto hope; a hope in knowing that our God is with them in their journey of life.

As a youth minister, I desire that our youth embrace the idea of total active participation in the life of the Church, and this is what I saw and experienced today. The actions of the parishioners were not ‘going through the motions’, but were a deliberate and intentional response to the saving grace of our Lord.

Of course we all know that the Church teaches us that the Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith that brings us into an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. But here, this reality is lived out fully with song and dance. After receiving the body of Christ, people did not return to their seats in silent prayer and reflection. Instead, celebration broke out throughout the congregation. Music and dance flowed throughout the whole Church, and we were caught up in this celebration!

As I reflect upon my life and relationship with Jesus, I wonder why I have not truly celebrated Jesus’ actions in my own life as we did today. I should have the desire to dance and sing with the joy of knowing that Jesus died to save us from sin and death. If the Church in America truly celebrated as they do here in Jos, we would have a renewal of Catholicism spread throughout our nation. I pray that the complete joy and love of the Eucharist that we experienced today will stay with us after we leave the community and bring this back with us to our own parishes throughout America.

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3 Responses to “Called to Witness in Nigeria, Day Four”

  1. Cathy Becker Says:

    To Dave and the whole CRS/NFCYM team:
    Your post was so moving and so relevant. Why don’t we dance, sing and let up a joyful noise at receiving the gift of Jesus?! Please let the people of Nigeria know that their example has inspired even those they have not met to be joyful in the Lord.
    Safe travels and peace–Cathy Becker

  2. Michelle May Says:

    David,
    Thank you so much for your encouraging words. I am so pleased to hear how involved the rest of the world is in their celebration of Liturgy. My prayers are with you and the entire group.
    May God richly bless those you visit. May they welcome you with open arms and hearts and may they continue to be a blessing to you and your faith.
    -Michelle

  3. Trinidad Hauck Says:

    Great stuff.

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