On Sunday 16th June we celebrated the African Child Day in our parish here in Maputo as part of the parish program for animating children. Most of these children are in the group called “Infancia Missionária” (infant missionaries).
A total of about 170 children, 15 youth who are animators of the children group from the parish and its outstation call Saint Kizito as well as a couple in charge of the parish family ministry participated in the program. It started with the Holy Mass, followed by launch and various social activities, such as singing, dancing, poetry and theater etc. The children enjoyed very much as most of them do not often have such opportunities to socialize with others. It is because, the parish is in the heart of a semi-slam area where most of the families are poor and their houses are small and simple which the poor can afford to rent.
They are either domestic workers, vegetable or second hand clothes sellers or unemployed. Furthermore, recently, there is a fast growing trend of single parenthood whereby mothers need to take full responsibility to raise their children. Since many of such mothers are still an adolescent and as they no means of taking care of the children, they leave their children at their aged parents who also do not have or have limited possibilities to meet the basic needs of these children. For such children, it is difficult to find a place to play since the only space they can play with ball is the busy streets. Therefore, as a way of animating these children to be happy and grow in the love of God, the parish created a children group known as “Infancia Missionária” whereby all children in the parish are supposed to join.
Every Sunday between 2:00PM to 4:00PM the group come together for various activities such as simple prayers, catechesis and religious formation as well as social programs such as dancing, singing, drama and theatre, playing games etc. In addition, the parish organizes activities for them on important days. The Africa Child Day was celebrated in such context. Below are the impressions of one of the children call Maria Laeson and the coordinator of the animators, Adelaide.
Thaddeus: Maria Laerson what was your impression on the celebration of the African Child Day in the parish? Which part of the celebration do you like most, and will you like to celebrate it at the Parish next year.
Maria Laerson: We enjoyed the party on June 16 for two reasons; the first is that, it was the celebration of the African Child and the second is that we were also celebrating the international children day which was 1st June but many of us could not celebrate it because our parents could not afford to celebrate it for us. We congratulate our animators and ask them to continue to journey with us to grow spiritually knowing how to help and love our colleagues just us the motto of the group, infancia missionária says, “a child helps another child” or “a child evangelize another child”. As a member of the “Infancia Missionária” group I would like to appeal to our parents to support us in this group especially on such days that are important to us instead of leaving us only to our animators and the missionaries. What I like most was the music that was playing for all of us to dance and have fun together as children. I equally enjoyed the part of the quiz on general knowledge on socio-cultural and catechetical issues because we were able to respond and win gifts and popcorn, thus making our animators happy. Finally, I thank our animators for always accompanying us. I also thank our missionaries who have been accompanying us every Sunday in our meetings and have helped us to celebrate the African Child’s day.
Thaddeus: Adelaide, as the coordinator of the animators, what can you say about the African Child Day celebration in the Parish?
Adelaide: On behalf of the animators of the “Infancia Missionária” of the Saint Anthony of Malhangalene Parish I can say that the program went very well. Therefore, I will like to thank our missionaries most especially Brother Thaddeus who is also our Spiritual Director for the help he gave us in order to put a smile on the faces of the children. The African Child Day party was very marvelous due to the active participation of the children themselves and also of the couple who are in charge of the family ministry in the Parish. We felt very satisfied as one could see joy radiating from the faces of the children. In respect of the activities of the day, such as poetry, singing and dancing, quiz etc. were all sensational. To all animators thank you, lets us continue to take this little light and let it shine beyond the borders. To conclude, next year we would like to have similar activities in the parish since they strive for the common good of the children.
Br. Thaddeus Nyanuba, SVD
JPIC Coordinator, MOZ