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Saturday, April 15, 2017

Easter and surroundings

Easter and surroundings
While in Europe and other countries in the Northern hemisphere, Easter often coincides with the spring, here in Central Africa the Holy Week often arrives with the first rains.
After months without rain (the last we have had it was last November), after weeks of intense heat, here is finally (really finally!) the rain. Strong wind, thunder, lightning, and then here we are with the most needed rain. In a few days the landscape is transformed: from dry and arid terrain, here is the grass that grows, brushing with green the landscape. It's a marvelous sight to see how little water can create so much beauty! In addition to the grass and the flowers are blooming, also... the termites! These insects come out (in millions) from ground nests, and then the children (not only them) become hunters: with a sieve moistened by a bit of water (for wetted their wings) capture them and then they eat them. They are a protein-rich meal!
But during the Holy Week, while we remember the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus, our inner interests are turned to what the liturgy proposes us. On Palm Sunday, we begin the celebration with the procession: a bit of disorder, but a lot of joy: isn’t difficult to imagine what has happened 2000 years ago in Jerusalem, receiving Jesus.
On Monday, the children and the adults who will receive the First Communion make their confession. This is an opportunity to present this beautiful sacrament of God's Forgiveness also to catechumens that Saturday night at Easter Vigil will receive Baptism. With them Tuesday afternoon we spend some time in prayer and reflection to help them to be ready for the great gift they are going to receive.
Wednesday morning I leave towards Bouar driving through Bossemptele and Baoro. In the evening I’m with thirty priests of the Diocese of Bouar and with them I celebrate the Vespers in the Chapel of Clarisse. This is a special occasion because tomorrow morning, Holy Thursday, we will celebrate the Chrism Mass in which the Bishop consecrates the Oils (the Oil of the Sick, the catechumens and the chrism) and the priests renew their priestly vows. Our Bishop is still in Italy due to fragile health and age problems. For this reason is the Bishop of Berberati who presides over the ceremony. It's great to see priests who for years (some for almost 60 years!!!!) live and work with simplicity and joy here in Central Africa! Immediately after the Mass, on Thursday morning, I leave towards   Bozoum, where I arrive around 2.00 pm and at 4.00 pm we begin the celebration that recalls the Last Supper, in which Jesus "creates" the Eucharist and washed the feet of the apostles.
Today is the great Good Friday in which we celebrate the Passion and Death of Jesus. These Sacred days are of a great help to remind us of the extraordinary love of God for us. Tomorrow Saturday at the Easter Vigil we will sing: "Oh the immensity of Your Love for us, to ransom a slave you have sacrificed your Son!". It is true, unfortunately, that too many times we have to face death, illness, and difficulties. And let me say that here in Central Africa no less than anywhere else. But it is true, thanks God that through the death and resurrection of Jesus there is always a hope beyond all the worst!
Happy Easter!

domenica delle Palme
dimanche des Rameaux

a caccia di termiti
à la chasse des termites

le rondini
les hirondelles

Marta, infermiera e ostetrica, prepara le croci per i Battesimi
Marta, infirmière et sage-femme, prepare les croix pour les Baptèmes

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