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October 6th, 1967

Dear Mom and Dad,

Vince Donovan will be leaving here for Arusha on Monday. I will also leave on that day for teaching and from then on most on the time I will be living out of a tent. Every week or week and a half, I will come back here to celebrate Mass with the communities immediately around Loliondo. Vince has made the first tremendous step. He baptized five communities in each of five sections in the Loliondo area. The members of these communities are truly Maasai in every way. Up to one year and a half ago, all the fathers without exception said that for a Maasai boma to become Christian was impossible. Everyone thought that the life of a Maasai community was incompatible with Christianity. Everyone said in effect that to become a Christian is to cease to be a Maasai. Vince has very dramatically proved everyone wrong. Of course, the American Christian would find little that is familiar among his Maasai Christian brothers. These people have never heard of the rosary or novenas, have never seen a benediction and know little or nothing about the vast organization of the Church as we know it. About the only thing one might recognize about their Eucharist is the gourd of wine and plate of bread that is passed around. In customs, dress and every other way they have remained Maasai.

Recently one of the elders from here had to take a trip into Arusha. During his stay there, he went to Sunday Mass at the Church in Arusha. I understand he caused quite a sensation, when he went up for communion in his blanket and carrying his staff. When he held out his hand for the bread no one knew quite what to make of it. The next Sunday he stood up to preach at the Mass being celebrated under the tree outside his boma and talked about the hundreds of people from other tribes who also belong to this Church and about the huge house they have for Christian gatherings in Arusha. Most of them didn’t realize that all Christians don’t have Mass under a tree.

Love,

Ned

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