|MALIAN CATHOLICS AT SUNDAY MASS
OMG, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything here. Since the last story, I’ve been to Africa and Missouri.
I visited the Catholic Relief Service projects in Mali, Africa. Eight days of travelling throughout the country gave me a good idea of the world’s sixth poorest nation. Rice with a bit of red sauce is the staple of the country. Water is precious in a land of sand, wind, dust and heat.
In Mali, CRS is working with ongoing development projects while providing nutritious meals for children. By serving those meals at school, parents see a value in sending their children to school. Like any parents, Malians are concerned that their children have enough to eat. Up to now, formal education has not been a value in a culture where there are few books and fewer jobs requiring schooling.
The Catholic Church in Mali is strong, though only about 3% of the population. The Mass I attended was jammed with three or four hundred Catholics who celebrated reverently and joyfully. The group of eleven I was with were the only white people at that Mass. It makes me more aware of what it means to be Catholic.
The muslims that work for CRS are quick to explain that muslims and Catholics live and work side-by-side. Each religious and cultural group tries to respect the customs and religious events of the other. Muslims attend Catholic funerals and weddings and vice versa.
This is a far cry from the radical muslim element and the defensive Christian posture that most of us in the US are used to. Perhaps, we can learn from the people of Mali how to live together in harmony..