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Sunday, July 19, 2015

Mary (Miriam), Queen of Carmel

Mary (Miriam), Queen of Carmel
We enter in another week, which requires more travels and more meetings. Sunday afternoon, while having a reunion with the members of the Parish Committee for Justice and Peace, lot of women arrive with the typical Muslim traits and clothes. Actually are some of the women of the 250 Muslim families who are at present in Bozoum. Men are only few, because many of them have fled last year. The women do their best in carry on the daily life with the children with the opportunities they have handy. We do our best in helping them and they came to visit us today just to say “thank you”.
We stay a bit together ending our friendly meeting giving thanks to God for His protection and help. Soon they’ll reach the end of Ramadan, a period of prayer and fasting. Having in mind their celebration for the end of this time of repentance we prepare and share with each family some rice, some sugar and soap. It’s a small step towards building an environment of peace and reconciliation, hoping to speed up the strongly wished coming back home, at least for some of those who had to flee In January and February 2014, losing everything. On Monday afternoon I leave for Bouar, and the next morning I continue toward Bangui where in the evening, at the airport, I welcome Fr. Anastasio, Fr. Davide, two Indian Nuns who are destined to serve YolĂ©, Carlo Polazzini who is a longtime friend of the Carmelite Missions, and Giancarlo Cencio, who returns for a few weeks to Bozoum during the exams of Maturity for the students of our St. Augustin’s High School. I dedicate Wednesday morning to visit the plantation of our convent of Carmel in Bangui. Here, more than 15 years ago, Fr. Anastasio had begun, with great courage, a project of planting oil palm. More than 100 hectares are covered by palm trees, forest trees, breeding farm, coffee plants and cocoa, vegetable gardens and nurseries. We are trying to give to the Country and the Central African Carmel the opportunity to support themselves and at the same time we want to help the people to believe that the agricultural work is really worthy.  The difficulties are enormous: numerous thefts, fires, and the presence of thousands of refugees. There is also the difficulty of making economically attractive the whole project, which now lives mostly because of the help of many generous people. Thursday we celebrate, in a very special way, Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Around 1100, some knights returning from the Crusades, retired to a life of silence and prayer on Mount Carmel in Israel. Here they chose as spiritual Guide, Mother and Sister, Mary, Jesus Mother.
For us Carmelites is a great celebration. I enjoy the great feast in Bangui, where our convent is dedicated to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, along with fathers and young religious in formation. In the morning takes place a long procession, praying the Rosary, in the middle of our plantations. In the afternoon we have the Eucharistic Celebration. It is the Apostolic Nuncio who celebrates the Mass. Lots of people, beautiful songs and dances, and an atmosphere of deep participation and prayer.
We ask Mary (Miriam for Muslims) to stretch out on all of us her protective mantle.

l'albero del cacao, con un frutto ed i fiori
l'arbre du Cacao, avec un fruits et des fleurs

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