Sunday, November 25 was no ordinary Sunday in the parish of Toco-Matelot. Rather, it was an extraordinary and wonderful day of the Lord: The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe.
There were no Masses/Services in the outstations on that weekend, but instead one celebration for the entire Cluster–an open-air Mass at the Mission savannah grounds. On that beautiful Sunday morning, one could feel the royal presence of the King and Lord of all, blowing through and in the hearts of those present.
This initiative was the brainchild of our parish priest, Fr Raymond Francis whose zeal for evangelisation and desire to make public our Catholic presence in the community motivated him in this direction.
Parishioners, though excited, were sceptical. The planning and preparation would present some challenges and with the recent inclement weather, there was doubt in some minds. But Fr Raymond was undaunted.
A suggestion to have a Plan B in place to hold the celebration in the church should it rain, was met with a firm rebuttal, “It’s not going to rain!”. Such an unfaltering remark could only come from one with deep faith and a conviction that it was God’s will to have this open-air celebration as a witness to the community. And indeed, the occasion was graced with perfect weather.
The event began with a procession from the church down to the savannah grounds, some 300 metres away. Carrying the monstrance was chief celebrant, Deputy Head of Mission at the Apostolic Nunciature, Msgr Julien Kaboré, accompanied by Fr Raymond, seminarians, Lay and Eucharistic Ministers, altar servers and lectors.
The altar was beautifully adorned and exquisitely decorated by our talented parishioners, whose flavour and style created an atmosphere that was as majestic as the Solemnity that the Church was celebrating.
In his homily, Msgr Julien encouraged the congregation to think about the true King of the Universe and ask themselves if they knew which king he was. He also challenged the parish priest to erect a statue or find some area which could be named after or dedicated to Christ The King.
Little did he know that Fr Raymond had intentions to call the open savannah in Mission (which is owned by the Archdiocese) ‘The Christ the King Recreational Grounds’. He hopes to use this facility for the promotion of team sports in the area.
The celebration ended with everyone’s hearts overflowing with a joy that can only be present when the true King is resident there.—Maria Pereira