Missionaries spread over 720 km ... and beyond!
Today is the World Mission Sunday. The Church celebrates this fundamental dimension and mission of all Christians which is to proclaim the Good News to all Nations!
It is true that every Christian, moved by the beauty and joy of his/her own Baptism, is sent to bring the good news of a New Life in Jesus. But some among the people of God carry on this mandate in a special way: these are the missionaries!
It’s a bit like soldier. All serve the homeland ... but some do it in the front line. And if they risk a little more, they feel also a bit' more proud!
Just this week I could realize one of my usual pastoral journeys: Bozoum - Bossemptele - Baoro - Bouar - Bocaranga - Ngaundaye - Ndim - Bozoum (720 km). In doing this I could enjoy, once again, the beauty of the gospel and the joy of the Missionaries.
Wednesday, October 15 I leave early morning. I meet in Bossemptele the Carmelite Sisters and Camilliani Fathers, all of them very busy in serving the Hospital Jean Paul II, which is the only decent one within 200 km ...
In Baoro I meet Fr. Renato, Fr. Dieudonné and Fr.Lionello. They were celebrating St. Teresa of Avila which has been a great missionary herself in spirit and heart!
I reached Bouar after seeing passing by our confreres living at St. Elias (where we have the Novitiate, with 6 Central African novices and one Cameroonian). Then I travel to Yolé, where we give a warm welcome to 8 young boys at their last year of the High School. They are preparing themselves to enter the Carmel.
This is Mission too: prepare and rooting the Church in this Country, with the young Central Africans.
My visit to Bouar is saddened, however, by a very bad news: Sunday, October 12 a dozen gunmen attacked the Mission Baboua (50 km from the border with Cameroon) and have kidnapped the priest, Fr. Mathieu (Mateusz Dziedzic) a young Polish priest. The kidnappers took him in the bush. It’s now a week that he’s kept there. With him other hostages are in the hands of the bandits for almost a month now. The gunmen are demanding the release of their leader, a certain Miskine, detained in prison in Yaounde, Cameroon, because of the crimes committed in Cameroon and the Central Africa.
On Friday I drive on what should be a normal road. I’m directed toward the North. Instead of a normal road I found mud, grass, holes ... but I could go on anyway. In the evening I arrive in Ngaundaye, where I find the Capuchins Friars (Italian and Polish) and the Sisters. Among them there is Renata Dutto, from Vinadio, a village near mine. She is here since 1967 ... And despite the difficulties, her health problems and more, she continues in hope sowing the good seed!
On Saturday morning, after meeting the hard working Parish Caritas, a blessed reality that helps the poor of the parish and anyone who is in trouble, I go to Ndim. Here I find Fr. Robert, a Capuchin Friar. With him I discuss how to help people to repair a long ago abandoned road, and how to distribute PAM food. In Ndim I could meet also the beautiful Community of the Sisters of Mercy of Savona: Congolese, Rwandans, Cameronians: all of them very active in schools, dispensary, and kindergarten. It's nice to see how the Mission reaches everybody.
In the afternoon I go to Bocaranga, where I have a coffee with Fr. Robert, a Capuchin from Poland. Fr. Valentino and Fr. Cipriano, in Central Africa since 1962 and 1960, they live here too.
Finally around 18:30 I’m back in Bozoum, without being stuck in the muddy roads, enriched instead by the many testimonies shared by happy missionaries.
|Un convoglio dell'ONU|
un convoi des Nations Unies
|Bouar: le strade diventano fiumi|
Une route de Bouar, transformée en rivière
|il Convento di Sant'Elia a Bouar|
Notre couvent de Saint Elie à Bouar
|è la strada... spero!|
C'est la route, j'espère!