Celebrating and getting together as one family enhances charity. It is a sign of unity among SCCs. One member stated, “We must often meet to celebrate. We should not wait to meet to mourn the dead or just meet on Sundays.”
In 2007 St. Andrea Kagawa SCC members met to celebrate their 10th year Jubilee. The celebration was opened with a High Mass in one of the member’s home. The parish priest, Fr. Camilius Neurey, in his opening speech summarized the work of SCCs. He said, “SCCs meet regularly, if possible from home to home. They also articulate the Scriptures, share life experiences for the benefit of the whole community, and walk together on the way to heaven as children of one Father, God.”
While the Mass was proceeding the Youth Choir and children kept everybody alive. The Scripture was brought to the priest by dancing children with lit candles.
After the Gospel reading, Father Camilius Neurey challenged the faithful by telling them two stories of how to live daily as true Christians. He started the first story by saying, “One lady had family problems. She told her problems to one of St. Juda Thadeo SCC members that her son was sick. She had no money to buy medicine. Her daughter had no school uniform, no shoes. She could not pay the school fees. She also shared that they were even running short of food.
A St. Jude Thadeo SCC member greeted the woman and said, “Hi, come with me to my community. We shall pray for you. I am sure God will hear our request.” This initial invitation did not move the lady to go with this member. She only responded, “Thank you,” and left.
Later on, this same SCC member spoke to a young lady with similar problems. This particular lady listened. This SCC member arranged to take this young lady to her next SCC meeting. At first the invited woman did not want to go because she feared disturbing them and being misunderstood. But, the SCC member said, “Please come and join us, we will help you! Finally, they both attended a SCC meeting together. After the Scripture reading, everyone was invited to share his/her life experiences. The problematic woman had time to introduce herself. The participants sympathized with her. During collection time, everyone put more money than usual into it. The money they contributed was given to the woman with a promise to help her in the future.
The second story is about a sick poor man. There was no one to look after him. His close relatives were also poor. After suffering for a long, long time, this man finally passed away. It was the news of his death, when it reached the villagers, which lead them to take action. They went to the poor man’s home with a nice coffin they had bought him. They attended his funeral, ate, and drank. Father Camilius concluded by asking a simple question, “What does it mean to love one another in SCCs? It is only to pray for people in need or attend burials? Charity requires more than that. God says love your neighbor, not love the dead.
It was Father Camilius’ simple question that started those present to wonder what else they should have done besides offering a nice coffin to a dead man. While the Mass was proceeding, the answer came to them. Not one, but five children were brought forward to be baptized.
This baptism symbolized that a living community truly is one with the children. The parents and God parents, along with the whole community now realized that they had a duty to take care of these newly baptized children, now and long into the future.
Before the offertory, the community danced in procession carrying their offerings—money, candles, Mass wine, fruits, now possessing a deeper understanding of community. It was the same understanding of community that God sees.
After the Mass there was a party. It was opened by the facilitator (chairman) followed by the opening of champagne which was shared by the whole community, drinks, supper, and every kind of fun thing.
Next, the Chairman gave his report. His report brought back many memories in our midst. He told us that there had been:
Although every member (family) was supposed to pay for the party, those unable to contribute were allowed to participate for free. We all had a wonderful time sharing with one another. We now know, more than ever just how blessed we are and have renewed our strength to go on after these ten years of grace. The community promised to work together
Let us meditate on these two African Proverbs:
1. Kindness can pluck the hairs of a lion’s moustache.
2. The best favor is to rescue the one most in need.
Sister Rita K. Ishengoma, STH is a sister of St.
Therese of the Child Jesus Congregation with headquarters in Bukoba Catholic Diocese, Tanzania. Presently she is working at the Msimbazi Center in Dar es Salaam Archdiocese. She a journalist by profession and has written extensively on SCCs and pastoral topics. She participated in international SCC meetings in the USA and Bolivia and is a contact person for international SCC twinning. She is a member and animator of several SCCs in Tanzania.
Sister Rita Ishengoma, STH
P. O. Box 2428
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania