Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Mabatini's New Church

The parish that Chris and I attend is one that was started 10 years ago by a Maryknoll Father, Fr. Jim Eble*. For the past year or more the parish has been constructing a larger church on the spot where the old church was. It's been a several-phased process, while they built 1/2 of the new church next to the old church, which we continued to use. Then, we switched to the new half while they tore down the old church and built the second half of the new in it's place. Then both sides were brought together and we were using it while they continued the finishing touches (floors, walls, ceiling, alter, etc.). That's not an unusual thing here-to live, work, pray, shop, etc in a construction zone, while things are being built or until the money can be raised for things to be built.

I wish I'd taken some before pictures of the church, but stupidly, I didn't. But check out the new, beautiful building!

The outside. The parish is called Transfiguration of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Here's the outside. "Transfiguration of our Lord Jesus Christ," it's says at the top, the name of our church. I'm sure we'll do some gardens or something around the stairs. Also, you can't really see it in this shot, but there's a huge wheelchair ramp up the side. This concept is totally foreign here, where there are no sidewalks and everything is dirt and gravel. Too bad we can't extend the ramp across the whole city so people could get around easier!

The doors are very big and carved with scenes of the transfiguration of Christ.
The doors were carved by a local artist. They depict scenes of the transfiguration.

The alter. The cross was just purchased in Kenya.
The alter. There's also a huge (for a Catholic church) baptismal font made out of the same stone to the right of the alter.

A view of the inside. Hopefully in the future we will get new pews.
A view of the whole church. We have since put up pictures around the walls for Stations of the Cross. The pictures were bought in Ethiopia and they're beautiful.

The congregation blessing Father Jim, the Parish Father and founder of the church. Jim has gone to the US for a few years for rest and study.
A view of the inside of the church when everyone was blessing Fr. Jim at his goodbye Mass. They extended their hands and sang the National Anthem for TZ. It was really touching.

It's really interesting and amazing that we now have such a beautiful church for the community. They raised the money for it themselves and they take a lot of pride and ownership in it (as they should!). This is a really poor area of Mwanza and people barely have a roof over their head, let alone electricity or bathroom facilities. This church rivals the beauty and size of the one that is in the wealthiest section of Mwanza; it has a sound system, lights, and there are flush toilets out back. They totally deserve this! I hope that when they come to the parish they will feel a semblance of peace and tranquility while they are praying and that they will understand that they deserve comfort and safety just like everyone else.

*Fr. Jim, actually just resigned as the Parish Father and returned to the states on Sunday. It'll be a great loss, but change is necessary and I'm sure that good growth will come out of it.

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