By Winston Eugene
Expecting showers of blessings, the Catholics of the agricultural community of Paramin came out in their numbers to celebrate Corpus Christi—The Body of Christ, at Our Lady of Guadeloupe Church. Yes, their seeds and seedlings would be blessed and planted on that day but to them the more exciting and important part was to recognise the significance of the feast and to be recognised in their community as members of the Body of Christ, the family of God.
Cloudy skies cleared as Fr Eliaza Mukemba CSSp, visiting priest from Malawi, began the Mass. He did not disappoint. As the sunlight streamed through the clouds, He urged the congregation to get rid of “our fears”. If we are truly aware of who we receive in Holy Communion we will not be afraid of anything “for He who is in me is greater than he who is in the world!” Fr Eliaza sang his message. He lifted up an unconsecrated host and said when the priest speaks the words of consecration, “Jesus becomes present in front of you! You say ‘Amen’ in agreement! When you come to the table, what you receive is Jesus’ whole and entire!” He added that God who is in and with us, is greater than he who is in the world. It was a beautiful Mass.
Time for procession. Children dressed in white with baskets of flowers led Fr Eliaza and altar servers. Four men from the Paramin Men’s Ministry held the canopy under which the priest elevated the Blessed Sacrament. Uniformed pupils of the Paramin RC Church followed. Strumming guitarists and enthusiastic choir members urged the stream of parishioners on their uphill journey to Fatima Junction. Members of the Men’s Ministry in their blue polos took on the role of safety officers along the way. Some ladies took out their parasols to protect themselves from the sunlight. On the faces were expressions of reverence and delight.
At Fatima Junction, a central meeting place in Paramin, a decorated tent and a table marked the central spot for further activities. Time for the Benediction. Adoration, thanksgiving, blessings, blessings, blessings. The priest preached and blessed. The choir led, the people clapped and danced. Cars and jeeps slowed down on their way up or down the hill. A slight sprinkling of rain was regarded joyfully as blessings from heaven. All in all, it was a glorious spirit-filled morning with approximately three hundred people in attendance.
Crucifixion – asking subversive questions