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Saturday, February 13, 2016

Carnival, Ashes and more

Carnival, Ashes and more
Sunday morning, after 6.30 am Mass, I am informed that a child, Placide, has been kidnapped! A family has a sick child, and they accuse Placide dad to be the cause of the disease, because of witchcraft. At 8.30 Mass I ask the altar boys not to stay close to the altar (Placide is one of them) and at the beginning of the Mass I denounce the fact telling everybody the kidnappers first and last names. Meanwhile some people of the Parish Committee for Justice and Peace try to do their best in order to solve the situation, but the Gendarmerie does not activate. After lots of threats and shouts, eventually in the afternoon the "kidnappers" decide to release the child. Placide comes home only the next day, scared and very shaken. Unfortunately, these events have still deep and strong roots. At the same time the fact that there is no authority contributes to worsen the situation.
Monday at 4am I leave for Bangui, to accompany Lia and Massimiliano. They go back to Italy after a month spent in Bozoum. I’m back home the next day, just in time for the beginning of Lent.
Here in Bozoum we live Ash Wednesday very seriously! In the morning we climb Mount Binon, a hill overlooking the city, and here we celebrate the Mass, after which I distribute the Ashes, a little sign of our being sinners and, above all, of the God's Infinite Mercy. After Mass we remain up the hill in silence to pray and meditate until the afternoon. At this celebration are present the Catechumens. They will receive the Baptism at Easter Vigil. The Lenten journey was created especially for them, to help them living and discovering the beauty of God. In the afternoon I celebrate another Mass for those who couldn’t climb the hill. At this Mass the Church is crowded by faithful.
Thursday, February 11th. we celebrate the Day of Prayer for the sick, remembering Our Lady of Lourdes. We celebrate the Eucharist at the Hospital, praying for the sick and those who take care of them. At the Offertory people offer money and soap. At the end of the Mass we distribute these gifts to the sick present at the celebration. It's a small gesture but done with great generosity by those who have few resources but giving with a great heart.  Now we begin our personal commitment for this Lenten Season. Pope Francis recommends that we open our hearts to Mercy: the infinite God’s Mercy and the one and that we share with the needy people.

Messa all'Ospedale, con i doni per i malati
Messe à l'Hopital, avec les dons pour les malades
Alunni della nostra scuola elementare di Bozoum, con l'Abbecedario in Sango preparato dagli amici di SIRIRI.ORG di Praga
élèves de notre école primaire de Bozoum, avec l'Abécedaire Sango preparé par les amis de SIRIRI.ORG de Prague

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