Forgive me. I`m late! I was travelling for few days.
The week started badly:
Father Renato, a 62 year old Carmelite Missionary in Baoro, who just returned to Italy 3 weeks ago, got very sick in few days and suddenly died on Monday evening Mar. 09 at Verona Hospital, after a very short sickness (leukemia).
On Tuesday morning I left at 3:30AM from Bozoum to go to Bangui. I was travelling with Maurizio and Paolo who are ending their work period in Central Africa.
At about 6:00PM we did take the flight to Paris that we reached on the next morning. On Wednesday about 12:00PM I landed in Torino and at 2:00PM I did reach Cuneo surprising my sister who didn't expect me.
On Thursday I went to Arenzano where I could pray on Father Renato`s coffin. I have known him since 1974 and his sudden death made me reflect on his life and personality. He was a great worker, shy and reserved. He worked in the villages around Bozoum and Baoro. He was a very knowledgeable constructor, he left his mark in Bossemptele, Baoro, Bozoum, Yole`, St.Elie and at Bangui Carmel.
Before the funeral celebration, we gathered close to the Shrine with about 40 priests (many Carmelites but also some Missionary Capuchins and Betharramits) . The Emeritus Bishop of Barberati Mon. Agostino Delfino was present too. He was the one who received in 1979 Father Renato in the Mission.
At the ceremony participated Father Renato`s whole family: his 92 years old mother (beautiful in her Faith and dignity) his brothers and sisters. Present also were the many who knew and worked with Father Renato in the Mission.
The celebration was intense and serene; at the Eucharist we sang a song in Sango to thank God for the gift of Father Renato to Central Africa.
After the celebration we travelled to Arenzano cemetery where Father Renato will rest in peace among the Carmelite brothers.
At 4:30PM I left for Germany.
On Friday I was at Wurzburg, where the ``Aid for the suffering Church`` Association was gathering in a congress.
I did participate in a round table, with a Bishop from Nigeria, a lady from Egypt and a lay man from Pakistan, to present the situation in some countries (among them Central Africa) where to be a Christian it`s often a dangerous matter.
On Saturday I left for Prague where, in the evening, I did encounter the Siriri Association which helped us for so long and still does. With them we will start some interesting projects for the High School students (to build a poultry-pen) and funding to build a kind of start-up for the students who will end their studying.
On Sunday morning I was in Tuchomerice, at Karol Bohm`s home, the architect who drew Bozoum St. Augustin`s High School. I went with Father Davide Sollami and Enrico Massone to talk and discuss about a big project: the building of a Convent in Bangui. It is a project that wants to give form to a presence and a social-religious activity in a place which can represent also a model of construction and Religious Home.
In the evening I returned to Prague and I did find the time to meet with the Czech Ambassador of Nigeria. His Embassy and Government do help us a lot, especially about Education and Health. On Monday morning I did take a quick tour of this beautiful city. At 9:00AM I did celebrate a Mass and prayed the “Prague Baby Jesus” for the Missions and all the people I know.
I was at the airport late in the morning in order to leave for Paris and on Tuesday for Bangui.
At Baoro, on Thursday we will have a memorial celebration with the Bishop of Bouar, Missionaries and Christians to remember Father Renato by the Faith and the Central Africa warmth.