Apr 17, 2008, 6:56 AM
Saint Michael's Parish in Njongon Niumi now based tentatively at Barra's, Saint Matthew's Catholic Church over the weekend celebrated their feast day - "Michael the Arch Angel." All Catholic Churches have Saint Names, whose example Parishioners would love to take and live by.
These Saints have quite an exemplary life to emulate. It is in the same line that Niumi Catholics and well wishers gathered to celebrate. Their long time Parish Priest (PP), Fr. Benedict Mba MSp, leaves after seven years to take a new appointment at the Holy Spirit Parish in Banjul, while Fr. David Maria Okonkwo MSP takes over.
The celebration was combined. Fr. Ben was been sent off, Fr. Dominic Maria Okonkwo welcomed and the Parish Feast Day celebrated, not forgetting the welcome of Sr. Kodou Faye to the Barra community. The celebration was crowned by activities, including music, dance, interaction, games, food and sharing love to the highest with young and old.
The work of F. Ben is said to have been geared towards the growth of children. He encouraged drop outs, orphans, the poor and helped those who needed help apart from the young.
His assistance geared towards the education of the young in far away villages bringing them to light. One of those children goes to join the Presentation Sisters, this week to lay her life for others.
In his sermon, Fr. Ben asked why they should praise God and correct answers were flowing from left to right.
Fr. Ben assures all that the greatest virtue of all is love. "If you love someone you will not hate them. If you do bad to the state you are punished or you run away on exile. God is warning us not to be unhappy in our Father's House. Everything is in heaven, we eat, drink, paint ourselves and we must look dainty in Heaven.
No ugly person would be in heaven." He said. Fr Ben called out those who are ugly to come for prayers but no one came, showing that there is no ugly person in God's House.
Fr. Ben quoted the 2nd reading and said: "You must fight a good fight to the end to go to Heaven. My Childhood teacher taught us about the goodness of Heaven. He said Heaven is good. One of us asked him if he had been to heaven? We all laughed." Fr. Ben further stressed that Heaven is good and it is a perfect place that all should strive to live in. If you miss it, you are finished. The world is like a market place if you have money you can go and buy good things.
Fr. Benedict Mb MSp further analysed Lazarus in the Gospel. He quoted scriptures as seen Lazarus in Abraham's bossom, meaning he was in the community. "It is only love that enables mother to take one in his bossom".
"If you see a poor man buying a vehicle you would ask how did he manage? If you are poor or rich thank God. A poor man knows poverty is not good, it's for you to accept the condition and you begin to improve and eventually be rich.
You become rich by obedience and love. The encounter between Lazarus and the rich man is a meaninglyful encounter. Be careful how you treat others because you don?t know whom God blesses," he said.
Fr. Benedict Mba said when there is peace there is joy. If ones heart is innocent, you go in peace to your house. He said Abraham means "Banquet of children of God." "The moment you begin to avoid the community and begin to do your own thing is dangerous. Your reasons cannot condemn the community," he said.
"The three Arch Angels were together. We could have celebrated the three together but we choose to celebrate our own. We are not telling you to kill yourself for the Parish but we say support the Parish ? your Church," he said.
Fr. Benedict Mba MSp further said that Angels take command from God but they guide them. "They have spiritual contact with God than us. They take command from God," he said.
Fr. Ben quoted Roman's 10:11 - "Any one who believes in Him will never be put to shame."
Fr Ben then introduced the new Priest Fr. David Marie Okonkwo the new Parish Priest. He urged them to support him and take care of him. "Bear in mind that this place needs absolute patience."