Extra African Adventure
Twenty-two years ago, during our first stay in South Africa, we met a newly ordained and very young Fr. Masilo Selemela. He was the chaplain at St. Brendan’s Boarding School, and it was clear from the first meeting that he was a very special person and a compassionate priest devoted to his people. He has been our good friend ever since and considers us his “American parents”. In 2008, he visited us in Oxford, said mass with Fr. Joe at our church, and accompanied us on a tour of New York City.
This summer, we were delighted to learn that Masilo’s contributions have been recognized and he was appointed by Pope Francis to be the new Bishop of Pretoria. Having a person of his faith and character as part of the church leadership is something to be celebrated. We were invited to attend the official ordination celebration, scheduled for September 3rd in Pretoria, and we decided that John would go to represent Fr. Masilo’s USA family. What an honor! We are so very happy for him.
The ordination ceremony was attended by about 30 bishops, 200 priests and 6,000 others.
There was a good African spirit, the singing was impressive, and the 3½ hour ceremony was recorded and posted on YouTube. The link is here and Masilo’s remarks begin at 3:04.
An extra benefit of the visit was the opportunity for John to check in with our Bakhita kids and their caregivers.
He accompanied the Outreach Team to visit all the primary school girls in their villages with their guardians and bought many food parcels which should sustain them in the coming months.
At St. Brendan’s, John’s unannounced visit was a surprise to the twenty-four secondary school girls. He was able to join in some school functions, buy some needed school supplies, and meet with each girl individually.
Most importantly, John spent time with the Sacred Heart Sisters and others who look after the Bakhita girls day in and day out. Our work is made possible by the dedication and hard work of Sister Rotee, Sister Gabrielle, Sister Sally, Auntie Dinah, Uncle Silence, and so many others. Their caring and love for these kids keeps us going.