Holy week, I mean: this Holy Week!
It began with Palme Sunday: many people and so many palms clasped together and decorated. We all start journeying as the people of Jerusalem, which today acclaim Jesus as the Son of David. But I ask myself: how on Friday we’ll treat Him? Tuesday I go to Bouar, where the next day there is the great celebration of the Chrism Mass presided over by our Bishop. In this special celebration the Bishop is surrounded by all his priests, who renew their priestly promises. After the homily, the Bishop blesses the holy oils (oil of catechumens, oil of the sick and chrism). All 12 parishes of the diocese are present with almost 30 priests. It is nice to be together, pray and reflect together saying thanks for the beauty of the gift of the priesthood, which unites us and has brought us to this African Nation from different countries! Holy Thursday the liturgy helps us in making memory of the Eucharist, the priesthood and the Commandment of love: Jesus at the Last Supper washes the feet to his disciples. And so do I at the Mass in Bozoum washing the feet of 12 altar boys. On Good Friday we make memory of the Passion and death of Jesus. In the afternoon celebration, we read the Passion according to St. John. We don’t forget to pray for all the people who suffer, especially for all the students of Garissa, Kenya, and for all Christians who are killed because of their faith. On Holy Saturday is a day of silent waiting. Jesus died ... but we know it will not be forever! Morning time we are busy in getting ready with lights and microphones for the great Easter Vigil to be held outdoors. At 7.00pm we are ready to begin: deep darkness, only a fire is breaking the night. From that fire now we can light up the Easter candle symbol of Christ, Light of the World. After the celebration of God’s Word, the Baptisms of 135 catechumens follow: among then girls, boys, young people and adults. With the baptisms we celebrate 27 First Communions and 3 Weddings. It was a very fruitful Night, full of joy for so many. As soon as the Vigil ends (10.30pm!) the people return home, filling Bozoum with songs all night long! On Easter Sunday at 8.30am we celebrate the Eucharist: the newly baptized are in the first rows! During the Offertory a woman goes dancing while wiping the sweat from the faces of the baptized. An image that says the tenderness and joy for these new Christians!
Happy Easter everyone!
For those interested: Italian television (Rai News) did broadcast a well done service on the Central African Republic. Here is the link:http://www.rainews.it/dl/rainews/media/Angeli-della-savana-6dc624f4-17c8-4a7b-804f-67fe31cf81a7.html
|Domenica delle Palme a Bozoum|
Dimanche des Rameaux à Bozoum
|Messa Crismale nella Cattedrale di Bouar|
Messe Chrismale à la Cathédrale de Bouar