If you are familiar with the life of St Martin de Porres you will know that he was reported to have been in two places simultaneously: on board a ship in danger at sea and in his monastery.
Our Fr. Terry is also doing his best to serve in two places at once, linking this Chipperfield parish with the two slightly larger Tanzanian parishes where he and his brother Michael had worked for so many years.
Fr. Terry’s visit to Nambaya last November, was to provide the means of supplying clean water to the school, dispensary, priest’s house, sisters’ convent and the village. Their present hand-pumped water supply comes from a 40 metre bore-hole which had been reduced to half its depth by an accumulation of silt.
First the bore-hole needed to be cleaned, flushing out all the silt. The problem here is that a huge compressor is needed and there is only one such machine in all of Southern Tanzania. The day Fr. Terry came home to England, he was told that the compressor had arrived in Nambaya to do the job!
Then a solar pump needs to be installed and about 400 metres of plastic pipe laid. This work will be done over the next few months. The Engineer from Belfast who is to install the solar plant is planning to go out with Fr. Terry after Easter.
So Fr. Terry came back happy. We are just pleased that he came back.
Fr. Terry’s involvement with improving a well in Tanzania might well have inspired his next sermon. After a gospel reading on the Annunciation, when Mary accepted her part in God’s plan “Be done unto me according to your word”, Fr Terry said how that many people believed that Mary was so good that she would accept God’s plan when an ordinary person was not perfect enough to do so.
He pointed out that God’s love was a deep well full of water. What mattered was what you brought to the well, “Take a cup and you get a cupful, take a bucket and you get a bucketful, a barrel and you get a barrelful”. Mary emptied her heart of “self” so God could fill her with grace.
We clutter our hearts with trivial desires: we need to empty ourselves of selfishness so God can fill us.
Gradually, the grounds around the Church are being hacked back to restore order. The garden looks a little startled but all this hard work should result in more flowers and a green back-screen. It’s difficult to make a car park look beautiful but our gravel laid between greenery is doing its best.
The classes for First Communion have begun: a smaller class than last year.