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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Salt and oil

Salt and oil
In these last few weeks we are almost at the end of the catechism classes for children, youth and adults. Catechism for children is split in five years, with Baptism on the 4th year and Confirmation on the 5th year. But each year catechism is marked by a small sign. The 1st year is a medal, on the second year is salt (which in the pre baptismal rites indicates the "taste" of life in Christ), the third sign is the oil of catechumens. And this Sunday, after a small examination in order to verify their preparation, applicants receive one of these signs. Sunday, May 17 was the INGO (salt, in Sango). On Monday I went to Bouar, and on Tuesday we had a large meeting with all 12 parishes of the diocese in charge for the Commission "Justice and Peace". It's been almost three years that we had not been able to get together, and it was very interesting to exchange information, experiences and struggles that we need to afford regularly for Justice and Peace. The next day I stayed in Bouar for a workshop with Caritas and CRS (Caritas US) to start the project of Community Savings and Credit, which will help many people to improve savings and obtaining loans. On Thursday afternoon I am at the meeting with the head of the Seminar of Bouar (Carmelites, Capuchins and diocesan). More than 200 young people (from the end of elementary to high school) are welcomed, educated and trained. A great educational work! Some become religious and priests and some do not. But all of them have the opportunity to live a strong religious and human experience. Friday finally I’m back to Bozoum, where I find good news: the aerial for our radio! We will broadcast from the parish of Bozoum! In the coming week, the work for the installation will continue, and we hope to begin broadcasting by the end of June!
Tomorrow, Sunday, May 24, we say goodbye to Sister Graziana that after 28 years of Africa she leaves definitely this Country destined to Italy. Unfortunately In a few months the other Franciscan nuns will leave us too.  But in August we will receive the Sisters of Mercy, which will ensure the continuity, and the feminine touch that in life and in the parish adds that nice scent of tenderness and mercy.

Suor Solange (voce) e suor Chiara (chitarra)

Suor Graziana

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Good morning!

Good morning!
I start the Monday by meeting the new employees of Bozoum Saving Bank and Credit. They are 13 persons practicing for 4 days on how to manage the Bank and how to marketing. They are very enthusiastic; I talk to them about the Country and how their position could determine many people, whose intent is to make their savings safe and to get the ability to obtain a credit in order to make their life better. We just made these days the point of the situation. In Bozoum, the Saving Bank customers are 2,700, a very high number for a city of only 20 thousands inhabitants! On Monday, the Forum of Bangui will end. It’s already one week that 600 people, coming from all over the Country, gathered together to discuss in search of a way to reach the peace. Many words, some hope, many congratulations! But I have my doubts, when words and congratulations come from certain kind of Institutions and “High Representatives”! We’ll see! Unfortunately right away on the closing day there are manifestations, clashes, with shooting and explosions. On Tuesday morning I’m leaving for Bangui, hoping the road will be free. At 11:00am I reach Bangui without any problem. I have there few meetings and then I go to the airport to welcome Fr. Daniele Corti, a young Tuscan priest who is coming destined to the Baoro community. On the next day we leave toward Baoro where we arrive in the evening. Here welcome us Fr. Lionello and Fr. Dieudonne’. Before supper we gather together to “inaugurate” the new Community who restarts its journey after the sudden death, in March, of Fr. Renato.  Here in Central Africa we celebrate the Ascension on Thursday. So we have our Celebration on this very day. I leave at 6:00am from Baoro and, after a coffee break at the Sisters of Bossemptele; I arrive at Bozoum before 10:00am, thanks also to the new car, which finally received! Many thanks to all my friends and to our Administration Office!  On these days the Central African Bishops are in Rome. Every 5 years they have the “visita ad limina”: they meet in Vatican City the many Congregations, write reports and, most important, they bring the local Church to the universal Church and the universal Church to the local Church. Yesterday, Friday, they met the Pope who has encouraged the Church and the Central Africa in this particular moment. He invites us to deepen our faith and make the Gospel we received more and more alive!

la chiesa di Baoro
l'eglise de Baoro

Saturday, May 9, 2015

No more lies!

No more lies!

The month of May is just begun. We approach the end of the scholastic year. Besides May is the primary Marian month, during which the celebration of the Rosary, this simple and humble prayer that closely fits the simple and humble people, helps us to have a special journey among the beauties of God's mysteries. In these past days we have eventually started the Forum of Bangui. We waited months for this very moment. Some 600 delegates from around the country are discussing and talking in order to bring the country out of the abyss in which it resides. The hope is really huge, but doubts and uncertainties are huge as well. It is necessary to have the honesty to go straight to the heart of real problems and to have the courage to make serious changes. With our Sisters on Monday we celebrate  Fr. Enrico Redaelli‘s birthday. Mario, also called “super-Mario the handyman” and his wife Luigina are helping us enriching the dinner with some specialties from Emilia, an Italian Region. We even invited at our meal a nice fish, a "capitain", caught in the river Ouham here in Bozoum. On Tuesday, together with the NGO CRS (Caritas US) I leave towards Bocaranga and Ndim. It is an opportunity to meet people and the missionaries who work further north. We discuss with them about our Health project. They will take over the costs for visits and childbirth for a few thousand women. They will also provide wheelchairs for the handicapped, will ensure food to malnourished and medicine care also for the poorest. All this is made possible by the Government of the Czech Republic. Many thanks for the great help. I share as well with them the draft CRS, to help people to give life to small groups for savings and credit. In these very days we see many international Organizations passing by: UN agencies, Peacekeepers. There’s lots of movement, as we hope for some results.

Un "CAPITAIN" (Later Niloticus, o Persico del Nilo) pescato a Bozoum: 120 cm e 45 kg di peso...
un "CAPITAINE" (Later Niloticus) pris dans l'Ouham à Bozoum: 120 cm et 45 kg de poids!

Mario e Luigina

Missione Caschi Blu: dalla Bolivia, dall'Egitto, dallo Zambia

Buon compleanno
Joyeux Anniversaire

Monday, May 4, 2015

To work, or not to work...

Working, not working...
Last week I talked about my handfuls of km in my traveling. I forgot to say how many they were: 2,300 km! I spent last Sunday in our community of Yaounde. Here the brothers were celebrating their Superior, Fr. Marco Gazzoli. In the afternoon they dressed up him as a traditional king: a colored coat with an ebony cane in his hand. It has been a good opportunity to stay together having a chat with the youth of the community, where he arrived just few months ago. Monday morning we cross the borders of Central Africa and at 05.00 pm we finally reached Bouar, having covered almost 900 km. On Tuesday I keep there some reunions. I take the opportunity to meet American NGO, CRS, with which we discuss on a possible collaboration for a microcredit project. On Wednesday I leave Bouar, but I find myself in front of a long convoy of at least a hundred trucks blocking the road. I could move beyond them but at the end a barrier blocked me. The barrier has been placed by some young people of the city. Like all the other trucks, I am forced to pay, and when they let me go, I see with astonishment that on the other side of the barrier there’s a tank and a truck of the UN Peacekeepers of Minusca! On top of them the military, looking with kind of fun at the barrier, and doing just nothing! Unfortunately it is likely to be an emblematic picture of what is the UN presence in Central Africa: many media, many military (over 10,000), and lots of money, with very little results.

On Wednesday I’m back to Bozoum where I find the many children of our schools and my people. Today, May 1st, the teachers made plans for a short holiday. At morning Mass I did bless the work tools proudly presented by our people: seeds, hoes, bic, books, cutlery, needle and scissors...

Barriera a Bouar:  i giovani bloccano la strada, sotto gli occhi divertiti dei Caschi Blu
à Bouar, les jeunes bloquent la route et raquetent les camions, sous les yeux amusés des Casques Bleus