Paul Samasumo – Maputo, Mozambique
Not even the cold and steady rain could dampen the spirits of the Catholic faithful of Mozambique gathered for the Papal Mass.
The faithful of Mozambique have waited for this moment for months. I heard stories of far-flung communities contributing money to send at least one of their own to Maputo for this Mass. Many others have come from neighbouring countries of Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Swaziland, South Africa and Tanzania. I met some Mozambicans from the United States who have come with their families to be at Mass.
An inclusive choir
The One thousand strong choir comprising the laity, even priests, nuns, seminarians have been practising for months. The choir members are drawn from the parishes of the Archdiocese of Maputo. The rest are choir members from neighbouring dioceses such as Xai Xai.
In Mozambique, matters of inclusion are important. For this reason, the Assistant Liturgical Director for the papal Mass, Fr. Nelson Bernardo Covete told me that the local liturgical songs had been balanced in such a way that all Mozambicans hear something of their region at the Papal Mass. The prayers of the faithful were also in the various local languages of Mozambique.
The other Zimpeto clinic
Before coming to the stadium of Zimpeto for Mass, Pope Francis visited a medical clinic run by the Community of Sant’Egidio known as the DREAM Centre. It is a medical facility that focuses on HIV prevention and antiretroviral treatment.
Yesterday, intending to visit the Sant’Egidio centre, we got lost in Zimpeto, and the driver took us to another Zimpeto health centre run by the government. Ironically, it is also also known as the clinic of Zimpeto. We met a courteous young doctor who had just completed a medical procedure. She politely explained the difference between the two Zimpeto health facilities. Looking around, I could not help but notice that as with all government hospitals in Africa, this one too was a facility doing its best but obviously lacking in resources. Amidst all this are the unsung heroes of young doctors and nurses.
Pope ends visit to Mozambique
Back to the Mass in Zimpeto:
As the Papal Mass ended, many were visibly moved to tears.
As we speak, the Pope has now left Mozambique for Madagascar as he proceeds on the second leg of this Apostolic Voyage.
Pope Francis’ visit to Mozambique will be remembered for a long time to come.