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The first mass celebration of Rev. Fr. James Mendy at St. Charles Lwanga Parish, Fajikunda

Feb 4, 2015, 10:37 AM | Article By: David S. Jarjue, St Charles Lwanga Parish - Fajikunda

In 1997 and 1999 respectively, the first and second sons of the Parish, Fr. Bruno Toupan and Fr. Michael Ndecky were ordained to the priesthood and had their first masses at St Charles Lwanga Lower Basic School grounds in Fajikunda.On Sunday 25th January 2015 history repeated itself when the third son of the Parish, Rev. Fr. James Mendy who had been ordained the previous day said his first mass at the same venue.

The Holy Mass which was celebrated amidst a multitude of worshippers from various parishes in the Diocese of Banjul, Dakar, Ziguinchor and Guinea Buissau, was accompanied by melodious hymns by the angelic voices of choristers of St Charles Lwanga Parish. The beauty of the songs rendered in Latin, Manjago, Wolof, Serere, Creole and English made it unique, in that every worshipper was made to be part of the celebrations even if they could not understand the English and Wolof language.  In addition, the clear nature of the PA System throughout the mass celebrations was an added plus as the whole congregation could clearly hear and follow the proceedings at any corner they were seated.

Besides Fr. James Mendy being Chief Celebrant, the readings were taken by the Parish lectors and the Sermon assigned to Rev. Fr. Joseph Carlment Gomez, who centered his homily in English on Gospel reading of that Sunday.  Fr. Joe later preached in the Manjago language for the benefit of those could not understand English and for delegates from Senegal and Guinea Bissau.  In conclusion he (Fr. Carl) rendered words of wisdom to Fr. James Mendy.

The mass offertory gifts were bought to the Altar accompanied by beautiful hymns whilst the parish missionary childhood and the relatives of Fr. James Mendy with their traditional outfits dance amidst a cheerful congregation. The celebrations continued with Fr. James Mendy leading through offertory prayers and the consecration in both English and wollof.

At communion time, the Eucharist was given to communicants by Fr. James Mendy assisted by other priests and religious in attendance.  Then came the prayer after communion before a thanksgiving hymn was rendered in manjago language.  Fr. James Mendy was called upon before the Altar to be dressed by the family in traditional outfits.  He was paraded towards the congregation amidst clapping, dancing and thanksgiving to God for making another Son of the Parish a priest.

Key among the day’s of events were acknowledgements and appreciation speeches made by Mr. Simon Ogis Mendy (Chairman Parish Ordination Committee), Mr. Andrew Gomez (Chairman Parish Pastoral Council) and then came Fr. James who also acknowledged and thanked all and sundry, mentioning names after names for their support to him in diverse ways during his journey to the priesthood especially his own father and mother for bringing him up and allowing him to answer to God’s call in the service humankind as priest.  Fr. John Mendy (Parish Priest) also intervene to single out the parish appreciation to those who were also supportive and were unavoidably missed out.

The mass celebration ended at around 2pm with final blessing by Fr. James Mendy.  After that people reminded seated and were served with lunch whilst the clergy, religious and special invitees were treated to reception at St Charles Lwanga Nursery School grounds in honour of the newly ordained priest.  The celebrations continue throughout evening and ended into the night with entertainment in traditional Jola saxophone drum and dance on one side, manjago cultural group on other side and also gospel musical performance. (the living word band).

The people joyfully went home late in the night, keeping in memory and thanking God for yet a new priest.

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