The Magi, often referred to as the “three wise men,” were a group of distinguished foreigners who visited Jesus after his birth, bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. For generations they have represented regular figures in the tradition of Christmas and carry a great importance of the Christian tradition. However, very little information is given about the tradition of the three “kings.”

 

By MELISSA
MARTINEZ
The Helena World

The Magi, often referred to as the “three wise men,” were a group of distinguished foreigners who visited Jesus after his birth, bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. For generations they have represented regular figures in the tradition of Christmas and carry a great importance of the Christian tradition. However, very little information is given about the tradition of the three “kings.”
Just as the three wise men were believed to have traveled from different parts of the world, Helena too has “three wise men” that continue to carry the tradition everyday. Father Honest Munishi of St. Mary’s Catholic Church who like the wise men that found Jesus by 'following' a star which thus traditionally became known as the Star of Bethlehem, followed his faith to the United States.  Munishi came here from Moshi Tanzania, located on the slope of Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa.
“The culture is different,” he stated. “It’s not really city life. Life is very simple and people maintain traditions. There’s more farming but on a smaller scale.”
Munishi recalled his home-life. Although he found the culture to be a little different, Munishi says that the traditions of Christmas in the U.S. are about the same as Moshi Tanzania.
“Traditionally in Moshi, we meet and come together on Christmas,” commented Munishi. “Christmas is the time for families to come together, eat, drink, close the past year and bring in the new year.”
According to Munishi, practicing his faith with the people and witnessing others respond to the call of Jesus reflects a personal connection with the holiday story of Christmas.
Father Benoit Mukamba agrees stating, “I brought with me a presence of a priest.”
Mukamba came to Helena from Lubumbashashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo and reflects back to when he first discovered his calling.
“A priest was talking about how much it matters to give one’s life to the service of others rather being successful in money,” he stated. “I questioned how I could be of help but the priest was focusing on what I was really looking for. I was then guided to the call.”
Mukamba set out on his calling to his first appointment in Houston, Texas.
“I arrived as an assigned pastor to a huge congregation of about 1,500 registered families,” Mukamba explained, adding that the holiday season traditions reflect the same traditions of the Congo.
“We would have Christmas songs in our own language and plays or programs that detailed the birth of Christ and then mass would follow,” stated Mukamba. Associate Priest Father Martin Q. Vu arrived in Helena from South Vietnam a little over 17 months ago and recalls the difference of worship in the states and the limited worship in Vietnam. 
“Our country is a Buddhistand  communist country. We were not able worship our religion without limitations,” stated Vu. “For example mass was required in certain hours and if extra mass was required it would have to be approved by the government. I grew accustomed to those ways but it was an eye opening experience to come to states and find religion, among other things, without limitations.”
Vu explained how he became a father of his faith. 
“I followed the direction of parents and served as boy in mass.  Worship was limited but once in the states, I was opened to the opportunity to serve freely. I reflected on the limitations that were back home and realized the calling to serve,” recalled Vu. 
“We are here to serve and teach others of His Word and the fact that there is so little detailing the birth of our savior does not hinder our mission,” commented Vu. 
The New Year brings renewed hope for St. Mary’s Catholic Church, as reconciliation has begun with confession, renewal and strengthening of the community. It has been reported that St. Mary’s will be lining out some other activities, including a Children’s Easter program directed by Vu for the coming year.







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