North American Province: Fr. Ruffino Celebrates Mass with African Communities in Iowa


Thursday, October 14, 2021
On Sunday, October 10, the Cincinnati community of the North American Province held its 12th annual Taste of Mission. This one-day festival-type event invites friends of the Comboni Missionaries to visit the mission center for food, entertainment, museum tours, shopping at the mission market, and more. Last year the event was moved online due to the pandemic. This year the event was brought back in-person.

On Sunday, October 10, Fr. Ruffino Ezama celebrated the Feast of St. Daniel Comboni with the African communities at the Cathedral of St. Ambrose in Des Moines, Iowa. The celebration was organized by the Sudanese and South Sudanese Catholics of the US.

This feast wasn't just for the Sudanese though. In attendance were people from the Eritrean Kunama Catholic Community, St. Ambrose Cathedral Burmese Catholic Community, and people from Eritrea and Burundi. Fr. Nipin T. Scariam, who is from India, was the main celebrant. The co-celebrants were: Fr. Bashir Abdelsamad, from the Diocese of El Obeid; Fr. Ruffino Ezama, mccj; Fr. Protas O. Okwalo, SJ; and Deacon Francis Nyawello Chan of St. Ambrose Cathedral. 

People travelled from throughout Iowa and even Nebraska to join the celebration. Nearly 800 were in attendance. During his homily, Fr. Ruffino spoke of St. Daniel Comboni and his mission. The main message was how St. Daniel did not believe his mission was Italian, Spanish or African — it was Catholic! He also spoke of St. Daniel's poor upbringing in Northern Italy, and how despite being the last surviving child in a large family, Daniel's parents willingly shared him with the world. St. Daniel was truly a man who was for others. 

This Feast Day Mass was truly a celebration with performances by the Sudanese Choir and Youth Dancers, and the Eritrean Kunama Choir. Readings were in Arabic, Burmese, and Kiswahili.
Lindsay Braud