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Sunday, December 31, 2017

Christmas 2017

Christmas 2017
Once more it’s Christmas: great celebration all over the world. In Bozoum Christmas celebration has always something special. As for me Christmas reminds of snow and cold. Here instead we celebrate it with 35 degrees Celsius in the shade (even if at night the temperature drops below 15 degrees Celsius). But forgetting about the weather, the Christmas atmosphere is more about the joy for adults and, above all, for children, the lights, the colors, the cribs, songs and dances. And the enchantment and wonder of that Child never cease to amaze young and seniors. Christmas shines not so much because of the lights and the gifts, but essentially for the Light and for the Gift which is Jesus, the Son of God made Man. With Him, every man acquires a unique dignity. On Sunday 24th we began the preparation with the morning Mass, and then the celebration of the Birth of Jesus. Given the climate and the usual ways of living, we celebrated the Midnight Mass at 6.30 pm. A large crowd of believers, a well prepared Choir, and the Protagonist, He, Jesus, at the center of all our attention, of all our hopes. On the 25th, Christmas Day, we gathered at the church for the great Mass: a single celebrant priest, but 50 altar servers and about twenty dancers! In addition to the joy of the celebration, there were also 4 children receiving the Sacrament of Baptism (including twins, Antoine and Joseph). Many kids came to church with a toy, a small gift to be shared, sign and memory of the great gift which is Jesus.  After the Mass, songs and dances go really wild. The Christmas day and the following are quiet. Schools are closed, and activities are a bit slowed. On Wednesday I go to Bouar to take part at a meeting of the leaders of Catholic schools. We need to decide how to be ready for the consecration of the new bishop, but also to discuss the school year situation. Some schools began with almost two months of delay, due to the clashes. 
But as always we keep going on.


le danzatrici liturgiche
les danseuses liturgiques

Uno dei gemelli battezzati
un des jumeaux baptisés

Riunione scuole a Bouar
Réunion écoles à Bouar

Friday, December 22, 2017

Getting close to Christmas

Getting close to Christmas
Even in Central Africa these days, close to Christmas’s celebration, are very busy. But not because of lights, rush for last shopping or stuff like that.
On Sunday we celebrated the feast of St. John of the Cross. Together with St. Teresa of Avila, he is the Founder of the Discalced Carmelites. One of the chapels of the city is dedicated to him, and on Sunday we celebrate here an outdoors Mass.
Monday morning, from 8.30 am to 1.00 pm, I meet the professors of our High School St. Augustine, to have a conversation about the results of the first quarter. It is a precious work, with some disappointments, but also with many joys, especially when a kid begins to enjoy studying and riches positive results.
In the afternoon I leave going to Bouar. And on Tuesday we are together with Father Stefano, which celebrates 25th anniversary of his priesthood. At the celebration are present almost all the Carmelite Fathers of Central Africa. It is a beautiful moment of gratitude to God and to Father Stefano for this gift. After the celebration of the Eucharist we have a long meeting, and only in the late afternoon we return to Bozoum.
Wednesday afternoon I keep myself busy with the sick of a Bozoum area. I visit them, I listen to the Confession giving them the Communion. It is moving to see how the faces of these old and lonely people shine because of that simple visit. For them the real gift is Jesus visiting them.
Upon returning I meet the children of our orphanage Centre “Arc en Ciel”, I celebrate for the approaching Christmas. The crib, dances, some simple present like a small bag of biscuits, a soap, a whistle, really little things, but for a child it's a great gift. We adults certainly have something to learn!
Thursday I accompany Isaac to Bozoum airport. Almost three weeks ago he had been hit by a motorcycle, and he had a fractured arm and leg. The fracture of the leg is severe, and requires surgery. He is blind, and that very morning he came to me to ask for a little help. Thanks to the International Red Cross he can go by plane to Bangui, where they will take care of him. I’m impressed by his smile that says so much! Impressed also by the people who did take care of him and will continue to do so. 
It's almost Christmas!

Non si direbbe, ma è un fungo

Festa a St Jean

Riunione insegnanti


un po' di scuola dopo scuola, in quartiere
un peu d'école au quartier

Festa di Natale all'Arc en Ciel
Fete de Noel au Centre Orphelins Arc en Ciel

Partenza verso Bangui

Friday, December 15, 2017

Going back home

Scorci di Yaounde
Going back home
My daily chronical goes on, event by event. Last Saturday I left Yaounde, Cameroon Capital, wanting to reach Douala, a city on the sea, or rather, where the river flows into the sea. I travel by coach, very comfortable, even if, to cover the distance of 250 km it takes four and a half hours. Sunday morning I make a stop for a visit to the Sisters of Mercy of Douala, then I go to the airport, and around 1.00 pm, with a little delay, I leave towards Bangui. Here I give myself a short moment for a quick hello to some friends, and also to see the excellent preparation of the working area for the production of clay bricks. The work will begin (I hope) in January. Monday morning at 6.30 am I'm at the airport. A long waiting time. I should leave towards Bouar with a flight of MINUSCA (the UN Peace Keepers) at 11.00 am and instead the departure is delayed at 1.30 pm.  The plane is a russian Antonov, as Russian is the crew and all the signs. At 2.30 I am in Bouar, and I can take the road back home 5.00 pm, having with me Alberto, who comes to Bozoum for a week as a dentist, reopening the dental office. This dental service has been kept open and operative for years by the Association "Friends for Central Africa". In these days the displaced persons are going back to Bocaranga. After almost two months, many families decided to return home. It will be hard (many will have to rebuild their house), but it is always better than living far away. We will try to continue to help them there too.


cantiere per la fabbricazione dei mattoni
le chantier pour la fabrication des briques

Arrivo a Bouar

Alberto, il dentista, all'opera

Saturday, December 9, 2017

A newly elected Bishop!

In primo piano il nuovo vescovo di Bouar, l'abbé Mirek

A newly elected Bishop!
Saturday, December 2nd, around noon appears on Facebook a news about our diocese, Bouar. The news is written in Polish language, but the automatic translation reveals to me that the Pope would have appointed Abbé Mirek as bishop of Bouar. I try to call him, and the busy phone line confirms that the news is probably true. And at 12.40 pm is the same newly elected Abbe’ Mirek telling me over the phone about his election. It's really great news.
The diocese of Bouar was created in 1978, and the first bishop was the Capuchin Father Armando Gianni, who led it for almost forty years. He built the cathedral and the seminary, and made that of Bouar one of the liveliest dioceses, thanks also to the presence of numerous religious and religious communities. After the diocese of Bangui, that of Bouar is the diocese with more students in Catholic schools. From November 2016 he was in Italy for health reasons, and his resignation was accepted in recent days. He was born in 1939. Abbé Mirek Gukwa, a Polish, is born in 1963. He has been in Central Africa since 1992, and after working as a parish priest in Bohong, and then as Director of the seminary, he has been Vicar General since 2006. During all these years of war and crisis, he has always been very close to all the parishes, and very active, together with other religious leaders, trying to reconcile the communities and sharing the comfort of a concrete help to everybody and everywhere it was needed. Really it’s a great news, and we're very happy with His nomination. For all of us it is a new page in the history of our diocese.
Tuesday morning I go to Bouar. Along the way I can stop and greet the new Bishop. Then I stop at Baoro, where we plan to open the school for catechists working in all parishes of the diocese.
These days I travel to Cameroon, to visit our young guys studying Theology in Yaounde, the Capital city. I find the roads in a better shape, but the journey is 1.000 km long from Bozoum), and, around 5.00/7.00 am I did drive in the fog.

il nuovo vescovo con il predecessore
le nouvel éveque avec son prédecessure

Cresime a Bozoum, con il vescovo Armando Gianni (2008)

il nuovo vescovo a Bozoum, per l'inaugurazione della chiesa, ottobre 2016

Membri del movimento Santa Rita
Membres du mouvement Sainte Rita

école catéchistes de Baoro