On October 20 this year, Beandrarezona mission will be completing three years since its official opening. Since then, the new mission entrusted to the care of the Consolata Missionaries is still continuing its journey.
After a period of learning the Malagasy language, observing and understanding the local reality, people and their culture, we realized that the first necessary step in this “one hundred percent Ad Gentes” mission was to build a local Christian community that is solid and active in faith. It is a delicate process that requires courage, patience, creativity, perseverance and optimism. This is because, for many years, people here were not used to seeing and living with missionaries and priests and often there were no Eucharistic celebrations on Sundays. It is a new experience for them having the presence of missionaries who reside in their territory.
It is in this dynamic that we began the visit to families and villages and the catechesis for various groups in preparation for the reception of the sacraments. So, on 12 September 2022, was a joyful day for the mission of Beandrarezona. There was the first celebration of the sacrament of marriage in our new mission. Three couples publicly proclaimed their definitive “yes” by welcoming one another before God and the entire assembly present in this great act of faith and fraternal communion. Christians and non-Christians, Catholics, Protestants and others, local authorities and villagers, participated in the celebration of this sacrament that had never been celebrated in their village. Due to the big number of people, the Eucharistic celebration, presided over by Father Kizito Mukalazi, parish priest and superior of the IMC Madagascar group, and concelebrated by Fathers Jean Tuluba and Jared Makori, was held on the esplanade of the new under construction college of the mission. One of the spouses belongs to a Protestant group of Madagascar but his wife is a very devout Catholic Christian with responsibility in our mission.
Since our arrival in Beandrarezona, this lady was anxious because she had long desired to celebrate the matrimony and her Protestant husband had agreed to marry in the Catholic Church. Time passed and she was worried that her husband might change his mind since they had to wait so long. Her greatest desire was to receive the Eucharist. As sacristan, she was preparing every day the church for Eucharistic celebration in which she herself could not participate fully by receiving the Holy Eucharist. It is for that she was particularly insistent on the celebration of her marriage. It was so heart-warming to see her happy with her husband on the day of their matrimony. Another spouse was not yet baptized and therefore received all the sacraments at the same time.
This was the first major and remarkable event of the new mission of Beandrarezona. We are convinced that it will be the first of many other important moments in the life of this new Christian community and that it will help to strengthen people’s faith and to qualify our missionary presence and action in this forgotten corner of the world. !
Fr. Jean Tuluba, IMC
Beandrarezona Mission, Madagascar.