(2023) Here in the Buffalo area, most residents await with anxious expectation for the Spring Season. Winters are much too long and much too cold so any sign of springtime brings with it incredible joy. Another sign of spring is the gift of Sacramental Holy Orders and many people traveling great distances in order to rejoice with those receiving the Sacrament.
ROTA was pleased to welcome to Buffalo two of our African Priest Colleagues that ROTA was able to assist in various ways. They came to the USA with the expectation of attending the ordination of another colleague of theirs who is originally from Cameroon but being ordained for the Archdiocese of New York. They were able to share in their colleague's joy and the joy of the Church of New York. Once the festivities were completed they made their way to Buffalo. This year we were visited by Fr. Jessy Nkamtchou, (L) who was able to be with us last year and Fr. Japheth Tibui (R) who was visiting us for the first time. They came to Buffalo to take a break from their solitary life of intense ministry. What a blessing it had been for them and for us to visit with each other for a few weeks. While in Buffalo they had the good fortune of joining the Diocesan Priests in a few days of rest, prayer, lecture and discussion at this year's Priests' Convocation. They enjoyed the time very much and many of Buffalo's priests enjoyed their company and insights as well. Many were impressed with the faith and strength of these young ordained men. They shared the conditions that they minister in and the size of their congregations for they each had multiple worship sites some of which are only accessible by boat. They spoke of the violence of war and armed disputes which often cause them to hit the floor for cover and safety. They shared about their meager budgets often times just having enough food for a small meal each day. Needless to say, our Buffalo priests were a bit shocked to hear their stories and it provided a frame of reference for the struggles that we perceive as difficult.
Joining us also for the first time in this country was Fr. John Bosco Katabaazi, (2nd from R), the brother of our good friend and mission partner Fr. Emmanuel Katabaazi. Fr. John was substituting for his brother conducting Mission Appeal Weekends this summer both in both Buffalo and Albany. Fr. John teaches Liturgy at the major seminary in the capital city of Kampala, Uganda however his first love has been the missions. He served the people of Burundi for many years and now while in Kampala all from Burundi seek him out for spiritual assistance. Our first excursion for all three of our guests included a visit for evening prayer, dinner out, and night prayer at the Abbey of the Genesee. This along with the customary trip to Niagara Falls helped enrich their time here. What a blessing it has been for me to host our guests.
Our ROTA Board members had a unique opportunity to meet and enjoy a meal with our three guests hosted by Richard & Joan Ersing in East Aurora. We thank the Lord for our guests and pray that God continue to bless them in all their endeavors, protect them from all harm and give success to them in their ministry for God's Kingdom.