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Friday, December 6, 2019

National holiday and Radio Bozoum

National holiday and Radio Bozoum

On December 1st, in Central Africa, it is a national holiday: the anniversary of the proclamation of the Republic in 1958 is celebrated (Independence will arrive a little later, August 13th, 1960).

It is a heartfelt feast, characterized by moments of prayer (usually the day before), and, above all, by the great "defilé" (parade) in which schools and various entities (clubs, associations, etc.) participate.

During several mornings hundreds of students were busy preparing for the parade (which unfortunately resulted in the loss of numerous school days).

This year there were no religious celebrations (perhaps the authorities were afraid of hearing unpleasant words about the situation in the country, about corruption ...), but on Sunday morning, December 1st, everything was ready: the authorities were well taken care of under the new grandstand (built with the money that the Chinese companies had promised to build a school and 2 clinics).

At around 10 am the parade began, opened by the police, followed by the majorettes, and then hundreds of thousands of children, teenagers and young people from the various schools in the city.

A beautiful moment of celebration, which also served to forget, for a few moments, the difficulties of a country that is struggling to get out of a deep crisis.

At the party another event took place, that was very beautiful: the beginning of the broadcasts for the new Bozoum Radio!
Dreamed for years, after so many difficulties and a lot of work, in these past few days all the necessary devices have been installed thanks to the INTERNEWS NGO (and with the contribution of an Italian friend). MINUSCA (the United Nations Mission in Central Africa) financed the construction (which we have carried out in recent months).

On Saturday 7 December there will be the inauguration of "La Voix de Koyale" ("The Voice of the Koyale", which is a small river that runs through Bozoum).

The Radio broadcasts on 102.1 FM, and already has a Facebook page (, a logo and an email address (

Aggiungi didascalia

La delegazione della Cassa di Risparmio di Bozoum

Prove tecniche, Raio Bozoum
Essais, Essais, Radio Bozoum

Saturday, November 30, 2019

The diocese turns 40 (actually, 41!)

The diocese turns 40 (actually, 41!)

In 1978 Paul VI created the diocese of Bouar, in Central Africa: a very populated area, where the missionaries (first French, then Italian, and later Polish and other nationalities) worked a lot during those years.
The first bishop, the Capuchin father Armando Gianni, guided us for the first 38 years, building the various establishments (catechist schools, Cathedral, Seminary) and sowing in depth the Word of God, always combined with a great attention to the needs of the people ( especially in health and education).

The second bishop, ordained in February last year, Mgr Mirek Gucwa, wanted to emphasize the anniversary of the diocese to help all, the faithful, priests, men and women religious, to resume with strength and joy the journey of the church that is in Bouar.

Opened last year in Bouar, the jubilee was closed here in Bozoum, the first Mission of the diocese (founded in 1927), from which all the other missions were born.

And so Bozoum was for a few days the center of the diocese!

On Friday 22 November came the first arrivals: the bishop of Bouar, Mgr Mirek, some priests and, in the afternoon, Mgr Santiago de Wit Guzmán, the Apostolic Nuncio (the Pope's Ambassador) with his secretary, Fr Natale Albino.  Together there were also the delegations of all 12 parishes of the diocese: at home, among bishops, friars, priests and religious, we were about forty, while over 270 people come from all the parishes. For everyone, in one way or another, there was a place to sleep, and something to eat!

We worked hard, but the dozens of volunteers who took care of the delegations (kitchen, reception, liturgy, hygiene, decorations, songs, dormitories, etc.) were especially busy.

Friday afternoon we started with the Via Crucis, a moment of reflection and prayer, which brought several hundred people to the top of Mount Binon.

On Saturday morning Bishop Mirek presided over Mass, where we welcomed 8 children with the sacrament of Baptism.  Throughout the morning catechesis and moments of prayer followed one another.
In the afternoon it was time for Confessions: we were about twenty priests, and many faithful approached, for the Mercy of God who always forgives.

There was time, around 8pm, for an evening of songs, music and skits, organized by the youth of the parish.

Sunday morning at 8.30 the great celebration of the Eucharist began. The church was packed, and the atmosphere vibrated with songs, colors, prayer and participation. We even had seven couples celebrate the sacrament of marriage today!
At 11:10 am, Bishop Mirek concluded the celebration by recalling that it is not the end of an anniversary, but a new stage in the journey, and announcing the consecration of the diocese and of each parish to the Infant Jesus of Prague, on 6 January 2020!

And then: full speed ahead!
Il programma delle celebrazioni
Le programme des célébrations

Giacomo e fra Marco
Jacques et fr.Marco

Arrivo delle delegazioni
Arrivée des délégués

Venerdì: la via Crucis
Vendredi: le chemin de Croix

Sabato: i battesimi
Samedi: les baptèmes

Sabato: confessioni
Samedi: les confessions

Messa della domenica
Messe du dimanche


La danza delle religiose
La danse des réligieuses

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Farewell, Fr. Nicola!

Farewell, Fr. Nicola! 

In these days another of the founders of our Mission has gone, Fr. Nicola. 

I prefer to leave the biographical note Fr.Saverio, Provincial, wrote: 

"Yesterday, Monday 18 November 2019, the Lord called to himself the soul of Fr. Nicolò. He had been hospitalized only the day before in the Voltri Hospital, and his condition had immediately become very serious, due to renal insufficiency and heart problems.

Fr. Nicola di Gesù Maria (Francesco Ellena) was born in the province of Cuneo, in Rossana near Saluzzo, on 3 November 1923, and had therefore recently celebrated 96 years with the community of Arenzano, where he resided. 

He had entered the novitiate at Mount Carmel of Loano, and had made his first profession on 8 September 1941. After completing studies in Genoa he completed his theological studies in Rome, where he had been ordained a priest on 22 May 1948, along with 5 others of our Province: Fr. Angelico, Fr. Camillo, Fr. Ignazio, Fr. Leopoldo and Fr. Girolamo, who preceded him on entering the heavenly Jerusalem. 

Fr. Nicola was a true Teresian missionary, enthusiastic about announcing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to those who still did not know him. For this reason, when our Province still did not have a mission of its own, at a very young age he was available to leave and participate in the mission in Japan, to which he had dedicated his young forces for seven years, from 1951 to 1958. 

Once back in the Province, he was situated for some time in Loano, then he was transferred to the Desert of Varazze, and finally to the parish of S. Pietro in Savona. 

But the call of the mission was always very much alive in his heart, making him immediately ready and willing to leave to found the mission that our Province had decided to open in the Central African Republic, in 1971. From that date forward Fr. Nicola remained in Africa for more than 40 years, tying his name above all to the foundation and consolidation of the parish of Bossentelé. Long years of simple, humble but constant pastoral activity, in collaboration with the Carmelite Sisters of St. Teresa of Turin.

At the threshold of ninety years he returned to Italy, to Arenzano, not to rest, but to devote himself with the same enthusiasm as always to the Ministry of Confession, never tired despite his age. And just as he was in the confessional, in March of last year, he was struck by an ischemia, which marked the beginning of a slow but inexorable physical decline, cared for with love by the confreres of the community, until the last moment. The most vivid memory I have of recent times was his attitude during the Eucharistic celebration, in which he participated with true and profound devotion. 

The funeral will be celebrated on Thursday 21 November, at 2.00 pm, in the Sanctuary of Arenzano. 

In the Central African Republic, where I am visiting, we have accompanied these last days with prayer, and Fr. Aurelio is trying to organize a memorial Mass in Bossentelé, on December 6th ”.   

Goodbye Fr. Nicola! Go in peace, after so many years of work!

Saturday, November 16, 2019



Here I am in Bozoum! 

After a month in Italy on Monday November 11 I started the road back to return to Central Africa. I woke up at 2 am and left for the airport of Turin, accompanied by my sister Marisa and my friend Paolo. 

After a long, affectionate and emotional goodbye I boarded my flight from Turin to Rome. At 6:25am we left Turin and arrived in Rome at 7:30am. From there I set off again, with a delay due to the rain, around 11:30am, and at 6:00pm Italian (or 8:00pm local time) arrived in Nairobi, Kenya. I spent the night there so that I would be able to leave on time the next day, Tuesday morning, and after another 3 hour flight, I arrived at 8:40am in Bangui. 

In Bangui I was welcomed by our community, but also a few more friends: we had some fathers who were arriving in the upcoming days from other Francophone African countries for a meeting. They were confreres from the Congo, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Cameroon and Nigeria.

Wednesday morning we left for Bouar, where we arrived in the afternoon, after 450 km and a dozen hours by road. 

Thursday morning the meeting of the fathers of Francophone Africa began, and after a greeting, I left them to finally return to Bozoum. 

I was met by the community, the sisters, children, teachers and many people. 

These days we are preparing for a great event: the closing celebration of the 40th anniversary of the diocese of Bouar, which will be held in Bozoum from the 21st to the 24th of November. It is coming up shortly, and everything must be organized to welcome the delegates of the 12 parishes of the diocese. 

Good job and welcome back home!

Arrivo e accoglienza a St.Elie (Bouar)
Arrivée et accueil à St.Elie (Bouar)

Monday, November 11, 2019

A small world, a big world


A small world, a big world
After almost a month, here I am back to my blog.
Monday November 11th I will be leaving for Central Africa, from where I have been gone a month.
Time passes fast, very fast, at times too fast.
I do thank God for these weeks in Europe, and above all for the many beautiful people I met.
The month of October, which was a missionary month, allowed me to speak and explain about the wonders that God performs in Central Africa.
There were many meetings that garnered a lot of attention and sympathy.
Even in a world that seems indifferent and cynical there is still importance placed on the Other; the Mission, Africa, schools, education, the safeguarding of creation and the development of human dignity.
In these weeks I have been spent a bit of time with my family (my mother, who is a spectacular 92!), and I was able to enjoy the warmth of the friendship of the diocese, the parish and the confreres of my Region.
I regret not being able to see everyone but I did all that was possible.
I traveled a lot, between Cuneo, Milan, Ferrara, Bologna, Pegognaga, Cassina Amata, Rovigo, as well as Prague and then Rome.
It was a great to see the support of so many people providing consolation and encouragement for the work we do in Central Africa, the concern for dangers, but also the desire for the Gospel, peace and love that warm the heart.
It was nice to feel loved and encouraged, nice to feel part of the great family that is Carmel, the Church, humanity ...
Whoever believes is never alone!

Bocca di Magra