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Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Pope's visit to Central African Republic.2

La Porta Santa della Cattedrale di Bangui
La Porte Sainte de la Cathédrale de Bangui

The Pope's visit to Central African Republic.2
Pope Francis who arrived at 10am, after the official greetings, went to visit the Parish of Saint Sauveur, where a few thousand people have taken refuge. Here Fr. Mesmin, which follows security issues on behalf of the diocese, is able to see him. At 1.30pm we leave Carmel with 4 cars: Fathers, nuns, students, novices, etc. At 500 meters from Carmel we meet a motorcycle with somebody holding a Kalashnikov, but we go on. At 2.00pm we are in front of the Cathedral. The controls performed by ONU Peacemakers are serious. We go ... and wait! At 5.00pm, the Pope is facing the Holy Door of the Cathedral He speaks French and Italian, and says that today Bangui is the spiritual capital of the world! And he asks (in Sango) everyone to repeat with him: Ndoye. Siriri (Love and Peace) and the crowd inside and outside the cathedral repeat in a very loud way. It is a very exciting time! And then the Pope opened the Holy Door of the Jubilee of Mercy! And he enters the Cathedral, preceded by the bishops of the country and in Central Africa. Passes right next to us! The Mass is very intense. There is a lot of prayer and much attention. During the readings, our young student, Br. Jeannot, sings the responsorial psalm! The homily is in Italian, translated in Sango by an interpreter. The content is highly rich in meaning. It reminds us that beyond all, God is the faithful Rock who never abandons us! Hi calls the parties that are fighting to lay down their weapons! It is very beautiful listen inside the Cathedral to hear the crowd that follows from outside (through amplifier and giant screen) and that cheers and celebrates when the Pope says these things! He also says that the Central African Republic has a nice name (in Sango in fact means "the heart of Africa" and asks everyone to truly become the heart of Africa that loves! The offertory is simple, some nuns and lay people dancing bear the fruits of the earth with bread and wine. After Communion, the Archbishop of Bangui makes a beautiful speech, giving thanks for the loyalty and closeness of the Pope during these years of war, and offers, as a gift, pastoral made of ebony. After the blessing, the bishops leave along with the diplomatic corps and the government. We wait, and after about ten minutes the Pope passes through the aisle. He goes out of the church, and here begins a vigil for young people. The Pope himself  celebrates the sacrament of confession. We too leave eventually moving to the parking lot. Here a couple of young people come to ask for a blessing! And tomorrow will be another historic day, with Mass at the Stadium.

Frère Jeannot canta il Salmo Responsoriale
Le Frère Jeannot chante le Psaume

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