When I arrived in Tanzania older
Maryknoll missionaries said that it would surely happen to me. Necessarily.
Eventually. Well, finally it happened. I had traveled to a small, simple
outstation chapel to celebrate the Eucharist in a distant part of Iramba Parish,
Tanzania. Mud brick walls, dirt floor, tin roof. No glass in the windows. No
lights, of course.
Dark cloud circled in. The wind
picked up. During the Scripture readings it got dark and darker inside. Just
as I began “my well prepared” homily an avalanche of rain hit the tin roof. I
quickly learned what the saying “it rained like cats and dogs’ really means. I
immediately stopped speaking. I couldn’t even hear myself “think” over the din.
The heavy rain slashed through
the open windows and the 75 people huddled in the middle aisle. I sat down to
wait for the heavy rain to stop. No chance. If anything it got stronger. Oh,
well. Maybe God didn’t want me to give a homily that day.
asked the people to gather around the altar, packed in rows of three and four.
By candlelight and in a very loud voice that the people still couldn’t hear I
continued with the rest of the mass.
By the way, all
the people in that church will always say, “Rain is a big blessing from God.”
As for me, I wonder how many tin roofs I will live under during my lifetime in