Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Sunday Eucharist

The Eucharist at the Mariya uMama weThemba Monastery on Sunday is a joyous occasion.  On Sunday mornings the church at the monastery is full of drumming, the singing of Xhosa hymns and songs, dancing, community communion, the Lord’s prayer said in whatever your native tongue is (so far I’ve heard Xhosa, Zulu, English, Afrikaans, Sotho), and much more.  People of all ages and from all different backgrounds come to the monastery on Sunday mornings to worship. 

The daily offices at the monastery (there are 5 per day starting a 6:00 am) are a bit more quiet and meditative in comparison.  The regular offices are very nice and offer a great opportunity for prayer and reflection, but lack some of the energy the Sunday Eucharist seems to have.

On Sundays, whether it be watching the children and youth drum and dance to a piece of music, or seeing the older folks who experienced the hardships and horrors of apartheid embrace at The Peace, or joining in the singing of hymns in Xhosa, one begins to sense the beauty of relationship and community. 

A few clips I took from a Sunday Eucharist.  Please forgive the poor camera work!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

First Days of Spring

We celebrated the first day of Spring at school this past week.  The kids got to put flowers in their hair and wear colorful clothing to class.  It was a fun and refreshing way to welcome in the warmer months and to celebrate the season we often associate with new beginnings and change. 

The Holy Cross School is experiencing its own share of change and growth as Spring in South Africa begins to unfold.  The monks and teachers at the monastery decided to undergo the process of constructing a proper school building to better accommodate the educational needs of the children outside of Grahamstown.  The current school building can only hold one grade R (kindergarten) class.  After the new school is built, the building will be composed of five classrooms, a kitchen, a teachers’ lounge, and it will be able to accommodate up to grade 4.

The first phases of construction are underway, and as we welcome in Spring, so do we welcome in a new school building that will be essential to providing for the children in need outside of Grahamstown.


(From left to right: ground cleared for new school building, workers laying the foundation, platform for new water storage tanks. Construction photos courtesy of Br. Roger Stewart)

(From left to right: walking back up to school after play time - current school building in upper left corner, First Day of Spring class photo, students with flowers in their hair, students celebrating Spring!)