Mvolyé Hill is located in the center of Yaoundé, Cameroon. Here in 1901 a group of Pallottine Missionaries, Fathers, Brothers and Sisters, under the leadership of Bishop Henry Vieter, arrived to bring the Good News to inhabitants of this region, the people of the Beti Tribe.
In the Church of the Holy Spirit, built by the pioneer of evangelization Bishop Vieter, our two first Cameroonian Sisters: Ghislaine Koagne Ndeyo Makui and Stéphanie Boueda Lonfo made their first profession before Superior General Sr. Izabela Swierad, on the Solemnity of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Sr. Mirosława Włodarczyk, Provincial Superior, also participated in this event.
The main celebrant of the Holy Mass was the Archbishop of Yaoundé, Jean Mbarga, who moved the hearts of the faithful by the words of his homily, emphasizing that he participated in this event because of the historical remembrance of the First Missionaries (religious men and women) of the Pallottine Family.
Bartolomé Esteban Murillo: The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 1675
A Gifted Relationship
In 1950, five years after the end of the carnage of the Second World War which had ruptured the peace of the world and during which millions of human beings made in the image and likeness of God had been consigned to oblivion and literally gone up in smoke Pope Pius XII promulgated the doctrine of the Assumption; a teaching about the value of an individual human life to the rest of humanity. He declared in the apostolic constitution Munificentissimus Deus that ‘the Immaculate Mother of God, Mary ever Virgin, on completing the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul to heavenly glory.’ The human being who most reflected the splendour of her Son’s humanity and his obedient response to the Father’s will did not undergo separation from him. She who was at his side on the Way of the Cross and who accepted the role of Mother of the Church at the foot of the cross was called to his side in heavenly glory.
1 Kings 19:4-8; Ephesians 4:30-5:2; John 6:41-51
The feeding narratives continue in the readings this week, but we notice a few twists occurring in the stories. Elijah is weary because he began a campaign into the desert and he gets tired on the first day. He falls asleep under a broom tree and asks the Lord to take his life rather than to suffer further. However, he was nudged from his sleep to find a hearth cake and a jug of water. He ate and slept some more, but an angel prodded him to rise, eat, and begin the journey. He walked fortified for forty days and nights to Mount Horeb.
On Saturday, July 18th, 2015, the Pallottine Missionary Sisters in Germany celebrated together with Sr. Astrid Meinert her final profession. Pallottine Father Edward Fröhling celebrated holy Mass in the chapel which had been decorated by Sr. Ann with most beautiful flower arrangements. In his sermon Fr. Fröhling elaborated mainly on the text from the gospel (Matthew 17:1-5), which Sr. Astrid had chosen for the day and from which she had taken a sentence to caption the celebration, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; and listen to him”. The cathedral choir of Limburg, of which Sr. Astrid is a member, enhanced the Eucharistic celebration with its singing, accompanied by the cathedral organist.
The Gospel follows John’s account of the multiplying of the five loaves and two fish which we heard last week. The word spreads and though Jesus and his shipmates have sailed to the other side of the sea, those who had eaten their fill follow him. This can sound wonderful; he is gaining new followers. When they meet up with Jesus, he offers them their truth. They were following, but not in the same sense, as he desired. They came to see if he were handing out more bread or doing something else for their enjoyment. They failed to see the bread as ”Sign”, but merely as a crusty “thing”.
In this story everything is on a huge scale. Even the setting for the story is immense: it is the first mention of Jesus crossing the sea of Galilee, at the far side of which is a wide space where “a huge crowd” could gather. Jesus feeds the thousands. They not only have plenty, they have twelve baskets of bread left over.
It all speaks to us about immensity, about abundance: not the kind of abundance that comes from careful gathering and accounting (the people had come with no food); still less the kind that comes from defrauding one’s neighbours; but the abundance of God's providence.
“Lifting up his eyes, he saw the crowd...” (verse 5). It seems he wants us too to lift up our eyes, and not to live our lives by addition and subtraction, when he is able to multiply goodness towards us.
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