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Saturday, October 12, 2019

Baptized and missionary

Baptized and missionary 

We begin this extraordinary missionary month on Sunday 6 October, with a beautiful celebration, actually two. The first Mass (at 6.30am) was in the chapel of Santa Teresa. To get there I had to pass on a "road" flooded by the rain of these past few days ... 

A rain that also gives us a beautiful rainbow over the parish. 

In these upcoming days I begin my farewells in Bozoum, with the various construction sites in progress (the radio is now completed, and we are starting to build the Bokongo chapel). I am leaving for a few weeks to go to Italy and Europe. 

It will be a different way of living from the Mission. Trying to communicate how beautiful the life of those who leave space to the gift of Faith, to the gift of Christ. 

Have a good trip!

Radio Bozoum

la "strada" per andare alla cappella Santa Teresa, Bozoum
La "route" pour aller à la chapelle sainte Thérèse à Bozoum

le fondamenta della cappella di Kokongo
les fondations de la chapelle de Bokongo

Friday, October 4, 2019

Saint Michael 2019

Saint Michael 2019 

Like my home town (Cuneo), Bozoum also has the archangel St. Michael as its patron saint. 

Like the archangels St. Gabriel and St. Raphael, St. Michael stands out for his struggle for God, and for us, against the devil. To which is why he is often depicted with armour and a sword with which he killed the devil. 

St. Michael has been the patron saint of Bozoum since 1927, when the first missionaries (Père Bonvalet, a French spiritan, accompanied by the catechist Joseph Mondjiao of Mbaiki) arrived in Bozoum. 

As is every year, at the end of September, we celebrate the solemn celebration. Preceded by a few days of preparation, the party brings together children, youth and adults. 

Saturday afternoon we had a small but beautiful procession with the statue of St. Michael, singing and praying in the streets of the city, once again entrusting Bozoum to the protection of the patron saint. 

On Sunday morning we celebrated a very solemn Mass, with songs, dances and a beautiful atmosphere of prayer. 

For the occasion I had invited Fr. Marcello (pastor of Bozoum for over 16 years) and Fr. Maurice (actually born in Bozoum). It just so happened that they were both celebrating professional anniversaries (when they were consecrated): 50 years for Fr. Marcello and 25 for Fr. Maurice. 

The following day we were still with them in Bouar, where we celebrate these jubilees with the confreres, seminarians, religious men and women and with the Bishop. 

Tuesday 1 October we met again at 6 am in the Cathedral, because it was a very important day for many reasons: 

1. It was the feast of Saint Teresa of Lisieux, patroness of the Missions. Dead at 24, she entered the Monastery at 15 and she never went out! She lived so intensely by the love received from God and given to him, to cry out with his life what was written: "I would like to walk the earth, preach your name and plant your glorious Cross on the unfaithful ground! But, my beloved, one mission would not be enough for me: at the same time I would like to announce the Gospel in the five parts of the world and to the most distant islands ... I would like to be a missionary not only for a few years, but I wish I had been since the creation of world and be it until the end of time ": Ms B 3r; OC 222. 

2. It is the beginning of the extraordinary Missionary Month that Pope Francis has called for the whole Church.

3. It is the beginning of the Pastoral Session which brings together priests, nuns, catechists, laity for 2 days of sharing and reflection.

There is a detail that touched me during Mass. At the time of prayers of the faithful, we have heard different languages ​​resound: Sango, French, Polish, English, Italian: it was beautiful to see the universality ("Catholic" means "universal") of the Church, and the commitment of so many men and women women to bring the joy of the Gospel throughout the world.

Festa di San Michele
Fete de St.Michel

P.Maurice e p.Marcello con il Vescovo

Sessione pastorale della diocesi di Bouar
Session pastorale du diocèse de Bouar

Saturday, September 28, 2019



We continue this very intense month. 

Sunday the 22nd we celebrated the beginning of the catechism year, with the blessing of thirty men and women who are committed to teaching catechism to 500-600 children, young people and adults. 

During the 8:30 Mass we prayed for them, asking God for the light and the grace to help the catechumens discover the joy of the Gospel and the beautiful life of the Christian. 

Immediately after Mass I left for Bangui, where I arrived in the evening. Here I found the community of Carmel, and Giovanni Grossi Bianchi, the Italian architect, with whom we have been working for a couple of years for the project on the Convent of Bangui. This time we hope it is the right time, and that the project can materialize. 

There were 2 days of meetings, discussions, measurements on the ground, while a Central African company was looking for water on the site, with a dowser. 

I returned to Bozoum with a small team of workers, who are to assemble the antenna for the Bozoum community radio "La voix de Koyale", which we are building. 

Meanwhile, the story of the wild exploitation of gold in Bozoum by Chinese companies returns to the newspapers, with an article by Cyril Bensimon on "Le Monde". If you want to have the latest updates, here they are: 

I catechisti della Parrocchia di Bozoum
les catéchistes de la Paroisse de Bozoum

Il rabodmante
le sourcier

Scuola materna
école  maternelle

Smontaggio della vecchia antenna
Démontage de l'antenne

la tribuna per le autorità, dono cinese a Bozoum (invece delle scuole e dispensari promessi)
la tribne pour les autorités, don chinois, au lieu des écoles et dispensaires promis

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Happiness, happiness and pain

Happiness, happiness and pain
September is a very busy month (and we're only halfway through!). 
Last week I was in Bouar, where our young Carmelites had very intense moments. After a week of silence and prayer on Friday evening six of our young people began the Novitiate (which marked the entry into the Order of Carmel). They were 2 Central Africans (Michel et Jephté) and 4 Cameroonian (Laurent, Armel, Evrard, Péguy).
The following morning, during the Lauds prayer, at 6:30 am, 9 young students renewed their commitment to live the vows of chastity, poverty and obedience. 
Shortly afterwards, at 9.00, we began Mass, during which 3 young people (Maixent, Gérard and Michaël Marie) concluded the Novitiate year and promised to live the 3 vows. 
They were beautiful moments that were full of grace. The journey was very long, but seeing the young people embarking on this path fills me with joy and hope. They are the future of the Church and of Carmel in Central Africa.
 In the early afternoon I resumed regular activities together with Marta Gallione, a girl from Turin, who will live in Central Africa for a month. In the evening I was in Bozoum and on Sunday morning we celebrated the beginning of pastoral activities. 
 Between Monday and Tuesday we reopened schools: between kindergarten, elementary, middle and high school, we have more than 1,500 children come to school every day at the Mission. It is a celebration to see their smiles and their joy at returning to school. 
 Unfortunately, I received some bad news on Wednesday: the river Ouham overflowed, and has flooded parts of the rice fields. In the afternoon I went to see, and what I saw was  bleak: at least 6-8 hectares (one third of the land) was covered with water, and production and harvest are now compromised. Months of work, hard work, which goes like this, destroyed by the force of nature and human stupidity. 
 This is the first time in 25 years that this has happened.  It has not been a very heavy rainy season so most likely the flood is caused largely by the gold mining works of the Chinese companies. 
It is sad to see that the greed of large corporations causes such destruction for dozens of families. Unfortunately, despite the complaints, investigations, presence of mercury in the water by these companies and by the Government there has still been no charge to try to limit the damage. 
 Happiness, happiness and pain

I 6 nuovi novizi con igli altri giovani in cammino
les 6 nouveaux novces

Prima Professione di Mexant, Gerard e Michael


Marat Gallione

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Almost ready!

Almost ready!

Only a few days are left before school begins. Here in Central Africa the  official opening is September 16th.
We are also busy; cleaning the classrooms, painting, and other various repairs. Everything must be ready for more than 1,500 students who, between kindergarten, elementary, middle and high school, begin class Monday.
 In some classrooms, thanks to the help of the Czech government, we are preparing some educational frescos, which are used to invoke the students allowing them to converse, explain and count.
Meanwhile, parish activities are also approaching their start. For a couple of weeks we will have a seminarian from the diocese, who will stay with us for an internship lasting a year. I entrusted him with liturgical training, which about seventy people from the parish attend.

A bit about the roads ... I managed to get to Bouar, which is where I am writing from . By now, in full rainy season, it is becoming more difficult to move and travel.

Formazione sulla liturgia
Formation sur la liturgie