Fr. Alfons Minja, C.PP.S., is a musician as well as a priest. The music wells up inside of him sometimes, and he can’t resist tapping along with the singing on the lectern at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Montezuma, Ohio, where he is the pastor.
His parishioners noticed, and delivered an early Christmas present. “They said it was a present from Santa, but that I should open it before Christmas,” Fr. Minja said.
It was a pair of bongo drums. Fr. Minja was able to incorporate them during the parish’s Christmas celebration. “I play them before the homily and at the end of Mass,” said Fr. Minja, who is Tanzanian. Sometimes, he sings a few lines of a song in Swahili.
“It’s not every day, but I use them when there’s a special feast,” he said. People seem to enjoy it—and Fr. Minja certainly does. He played the drums when he was a seminarian in Rome, and once had the opportunity to play his drums in the Vatican, he said. He also enjoys the keyboard, playing music by ear, and would like to learn the guitar.
“But after my ordination, I don’t have much time for music,” he said. “When you’re a priest, you’re very busy.”
The bongos are the second drums that parishioners gave to Fr. Minja. He has also received a cajón, a wooden drum that resembles a box or crate. “The people here are so wonderful,” he said. “They treat me so well.”
Below, Fr. Minja plays the bongo drums.