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Saturday, September 26, 2015

Saint Michael 2015

Saint Michael 2015
Last Sunday we celebrated in advance the patron saint of the parish, St. Michael. On Saturday afternoon we made a small procession with the statue of St. Michael: his presence continues to protect and to fight against evil. Sunday morning, despite an exceptional rain, the church is overcrowded. The Mass is quite animated. Fr. Arland is the celebrant. He is a Carmelite priest, a native of Bozoum. In the afternoon the young people of the parish, with Fr.Enrico, organize fun time with some games, tournaments and competitions including the contest for the best "hairdressing"!
Monday is the great day: back to school! At the Mission of Bozoum the educational work is huge. Approximately 1,510 children are in school every day: kindergarten (150), elementary school (750), Middle and High School (250), women's promotion center (30), Centre for Literacy (110) and the Centre orphans “Arc en Ciel” (220)! So on Monday we re-opened the school doors. All kids, all boys and girls were joyfully ready to face the school, that here, in Central Africa, isn’t something obvious.
On Tuesday I resume my travels. At 1.00 pm I’m in Baoro, but I leave immediately because of the road toward Bouar it is in a very bad condition not to mention the convoys of trucks which often block it. I manage to go ahead, but my guardian angels had to sweat more than usual. Around evening I reach our convent of St. Elias, where seven young people receive the Carmelite habit. It’s the beginning of the Novitiate, a year of intense religious experience in a Friars Community. I spend two days, Wednesday and Thursday, busy with meetings with different people:  NGOs, etc., for the commitment of Caritas and Justice and Peace. Thursday afternoon I leave to reach Baoro, where I spend the night, and on Friday morning I drive to Bozoum, under a beautiful rain!
And now the latest updates about Hyppolite! He is finally out of the hospital, living in Savona, lovely welcomed and cared by mom Emanuela and by Alessandra, together with many friends and persons of good will. Wednesday he traveled to Cuneo, to take part at University Campus of Cuneo, on the occasion of the graduation and the tenth anniversary of the Faculty of Economics.
This is what Alessandra writes: “Hyppolite is doing fine. No therapy. He goes two times a week at the hospital for the medication of the wound which at present is healing.  Doctor Anselmo told us that later on he could undergo another antibiotic therapy which can be done at home. Doctor Anselmo also has been in touch with specialists from Bologna but even they think that nothing can be done for a surgery. As for now we stay confident. In the future we can still think about another specialized Center. We'll see”.

Primo pasto al centro orfani ARC EN CIEL
Premier jour au Centre pour orphelins ARC EN CIEL

i 7 novizi

Hyppolite e famiglia (e amici) al Baramò di Madonna dell'Olmo (Cuneo)

Saturday, September 19, 2015

How many days in a week?

How many days in a week?
Sunday we began the Pastoral Year in our Parish with a joyful Eucharistic celebration. The various Church Movements of the Parish (about twenty) were present with their uniforms and their colors, and the joy of being with the Lord and with many brothers and sisters. The offertory was a show of gestures, dances and gifts. Is it really true that "God loves a cheerful giver"!
On Monday I have been called to visit an old lady, Marguerite, asking me to baptize her. I go to her place. She is alone, lying on a mat inside a small shanty. I ask why she wants the baptism. And she, with great simplicity, common sense and faith, replies: "Nzapa to bata mbi bee?" (Which means: " Isn’t God with me and accompanying me?") .
This week is a very busy one! Our schools teachers continue their training with Ludmila and Vojtech from Prague. Meanwhile we prepare the Parish feast, which this year will be on Sunday 20. In the meantime we must prepare schedules and tools for all classes. Something more: this year we are also renewing some classrooms in order the make them more welcoming and the kids can stay in a better comfortable way.  Well then: start painting, coloring and drawing.
Just this week came the results of Maturity tests. The performance generally is low. In Bozoum, in the state high school, only 11 students out of 59 have made it (18%). Saint Augustin’s High School students instead did a good job and got a very positive result:  17 of 24 (71%) are passed while the other 7 failed in some subjects and they have to go back with the chance to get their Maturity degree. None of the students failed completely. It is a great result. They are boys and girls with whom we began in 2007 and 2008, with much courage and desire to offer something that could make the difference. Now have come at the gateway of life and we hope that they can bear fruit being able to help their families, themselves and the Country in building up a better future.
I end up announcing the latest issue of the newspaper of Bozoum, "The Saint Michel". You can find it here:

I primi alunni del St.Augustin, nel 2008: ieri in prima media, oggi "maturi"
les premiers élèves du St.Augustin en 2008. Ils étaient en 6è, aujourd'ui ils ont leur BAC

la festa per l'esame di Seconda Superiore
la fete pour le BEPC

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Training stages, travels and meetings….a busy week!

Training stages, travels and meetings….a busy week!
Monday, together with Fr. Marcello, we began a week of training for catechists of Bozoum and surrounding villages. Catechists are essential to missionary work: they live in neighborhoods and villages, lead the prayer and teach catechism to catechumens. Without them, the Church in Africa would be paralyzed and blocked in the larger centers! Monday I’m on my way to Bangui reaching the town in the evening, just in time to celebrate with the young Carmelite students their vows renewal. On Tuesday afternoon I’m at the airport welcoming Ludmila and Vojtech, coming from Prague. They are back to Central Africa for a training stage of our elementary schools teachers. On Wednesday we leave early from Bangui and, after leaving Ludmila and Vojtech in Bossemptele, I drive toward Baoro. I’m there at 11.00 am. By early afternoon I have a meeting with the leaders of the parish and the local people in order to reflect on what had happened a few days before: a demonstration with threats against the Mission on the occasion of a Father departure, but as well because the parish had welcomed and protected Muslims preventing some violence related to witchcraft. The situation is much more peaceful than last Saturday. The young demonstrators, most concerned to seek a pretext and the opportunity to loot and take advantage of it, are gone. Doesn’t make sense that a country can be into the hands of few people who at the least excuse may block the national road and harm others! At 4.00pm I can leave, finally arriving at Bozoum at 7.30pm. On Friday begins the training of teachers in our schools. Ludmila Böhmová and Vojtěch Bílý have prepared everything (as usual) in all details. The purpose of teachers training is to explain an enjoyable teaching way, so that children and young people can learn better and with less effort, avoiding or at least decreasing the memorizing stress. The result is that the students learn in a more logical way and much more easily. Ludmila and Vojtech have worked hard in recent months, with professional friends Ludmila and Vojtech have worked hard in recent months with professional friends: Jan Korda, Václava Bratinková, Terezie Imlaufová, David Böhm, Didier Kassai, Michaela Antůšková, Adéla Svobodová, and Alice Trefná. On these days many things pile up. While approaching the beginning of the school, the nuns just arrived dedicate themselves to the registration of orphans at the center “Arc en Ciel”. Good job!
Latest updates about Hyppolite. Thanks Alessandra and company!
"He is still hospitalized in Savona. Yesterday he had the scintigraphy. I do not know yet the results. This Monday we’ll see again the plastic surgeon and perhaps he is going to have a smaller Vac. He's fine and in a good mood”.

Suor Christine ed i bambini dell'Arc en ciel

La Missione di Baoro