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Sunday, October 9, 2016

Festivity, work and big projects

Festivity, work and big projects
Sunday, October 2nd, we celebrated the feast of St. Michael, the patron saint of the parish. In the previous days we have "warmed the hearts" with the celebrations of the Eucharist and the Sacrament of penance.
And, finally, on Sunday we can return to the church for the celebrations after being absent for three Sundays in a row. Expectations are high, in order to get a view, at least in part, at the "new" church. The works continue quite quickly. On the same Sunday we celebrate a wedding and two baptisms. And the joy is at its fullness!
On Tuesday I'm back on the road toward Bangui, where I stay for a few days committed to a number of meetings and encounters. Arriving in Bangui, I am forced to avoid some neighborhoods, because in the morning an army colonel was killed. As a consequence there is much commotion. In the afternoon it’s easy to hear pretty close the gunfire, sometimes from heavy weapons. In the evening I welcome at the airport, Fr.Giustino, our provincial superior, Fr.Davide Sollami, our administrator for the missions, Fr.Enrico, the architect Giovanni Grossi Bianchi and Enrico Massone, long-time volunteer bricklayer. I'm here on a visit to submit and discuss a major project: the construction of a new convent here in Bangui.  
On Wednesday morning I go to the airport to receive Sr.Bensitta and Sr.Brice, Sisters in charge, in Africa, of the Indian Congregation of Sisters of Mother of Carmel (whom I visited in India last April). They’re here on a visit and, above all, to give a better shape to the idea of opening a Convent here in Bangui, at the Carmel. I greet them and immediately I go to town to attend, at least for few hours, at a meeting of Caritas. It is a very important one: is present at the meeting the president of Caritas International, with other people of Rome and Nairobi Agencies together with representatives of the Secours Catholique (the French Caritas) and CRS (Caritas USA). The goal is to reflect together in order to help the Central African Caritas to restart with courage and passion in serving the poor. In the afternoon I go back to the Carmel, and at 5.00pm we celebrate the first profession of vows by Br.Loic.
On Thursday we continue the discussion about the major project of a new monastery, which begins to take shape.
And just today, October 7, we celebrate 10 years of our presence here in Bangui.

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