Sunday Morning, go to church

So here in Burkina Faso, there is religious diversity. My neighbors on one side are Muslims, on the other side there are Catholics. I think there are some Protestants about too. Since I work for a Catholic institution and I am familiar with Catholic spirituality, and I sure as heck could use some spiritual support right now, I decided to go to Mass with my Catholic neighbors. I tried to go last night to the nuncio’s as reported, but without success since I couldn’t find the place.

So anyway, around about 8:00, the little kids came banging on my courtyard gate and off we went to Mass. The church is located about 1 km from the house, not too far, in a big mission settlement called “Mission St. Marc”. The church is Saint Camille, Camille having been a white guy and a priest, so far as I can tell from his statue that they have out front.

The church is huge, as you can see from the picture:

Saint Camille 1

The guy who is speaking from the evangelist’s pulpit is (as far as I could understand) a newly-ordained priest of the order that used to be called the “White Fathers”. Here is a better picture of him:

Saint Camille 2

He didn’t celebrate the Mass with the others, so maybe he is a brother or seminarian instead. I couldn’t really hear too well on account of a very large number of fans going overhead (yay!) and also the PA system was a little dodgy. But anyway, being a big fan of religious vocations of whatever nature, I clapped heartily with all the others.

The Mass took about an hour and a half, not too much longer than at home. There was a very nice choir. The music was very modern-churchy, with drums and an electric guitar. I guess they have been learning from their Protestant neighbors. Everybody clapped and sang along, also unusual for Catholic assemblies at home. The priest preached a very nice homily on the duty of citizens to participate in politics and not to fight each other; at one point he said “politics is a competition, not a battle”, which got applause. I guess they had their political battle last year and they are now tired of that sort of thing. And he also pointed out that many of their neighboring countries, especially Mali and Niger to the north and Ivory Coast to the south, have had civil wars, and nobody wants that for Burkina Faso. It was hard to tell what this had to do with the readings for today, since he hardly mentioned them and I also couldn’t hear too well. Before next week, I’m buying a missal.

As I said, the kids came along, both the Catholics and the Muslims. It was nice to see the ecumenism, though I’m sure it was for the unusual sight of the white guy going to pray. There were actually a dozen or so other foreigners in the congregation so I didn’t stand out too much.

Here’s pictures of the outside of the church and the kids:

Saint Camille 4 Saint Camille 3

So, happy Sunday. I’m supposedly going to Bousso’s for dinner though no sign of Djibi yet. Heure Africaine, African time as they say.

3 thoughts on “Sunday Morning, go to church

  1. According to Wikipedia, the White Fathers are a society of apostolic life founded in 1868 in Algiers. Technically, they’re not a monastic order. Their calling is in evangelization and Christian education.


    1. Yes, and there are still plenty. I’m thinking that since this guy wasn’t celebrating the Mass but instead sitting in the front row just in his white cassock, he is probably not a priest. There were a whole bunch of other guys in white cassocks sitting next to him, perhaps the rest of their formation class or whatever. Since the PA was so lousy it was hard to tell exactly what we were congratulating him for but congratulations were clearly in order.


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