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Saturday, May 27, 2017

Many goodbyes and…. welcome back

Many goodbyes and…. welcome back
Although it's only, so to speak, since 1974 that I travel back and forth through the world (then it was by train from Cuneo to Arenzano where I was in the Seminar, later to Genoa and, since 1992, to Africa) still I find difficult the moment of departure.  Greeting friends, family, confreres is not so easy when you know that the distance, both space and time, will be quite far away. The days before leaving being busy in getting ready  with last commitments and the luggage the  time seems to run at the same time too fast and too slow. But the most demanding are the latest visits, meetings and greetings. But this is life, and going away is also positive. The pain of that moment makes it even more precious to go elsewhere to live in a very far Country. At the end of the day isn’t so far away anyhow:  prayer and friendship do not diminish because of the distance!
I spent the last weekend in Cuneo. I've met again so many great people. On Sunday morning I celebrated in my Parish dedicated to the Immaculate Heart, and then at 11.00 am in Montanera, a little village in the open countryside. Here, the pastor was able to involve all parishioners in sharing solidarity with Central Africa.
On Tuesday the alarm clock wakes me up before 03.00 am. I load the last suitcases, and with Marisa, my sister I leave. A short stop and here the surprise: I find at 03.20 am still nighttime, a friend, Paolo Silvestro, who accompanies us to Turin. We have one last cappuccino together, carrying the boarding pass and luggage, and giving one another the last hugs. I began boarding, and after more check-ups, one last greetings and away.
At 6.00 am the plane leaves for Paris, and from Paris I reach Bangui, where my flight arrives with a slight delay, at 4.30 pm. Passport control, luggage recovery, luggage control, and finally off!
The next day, on Wednesday, after meeting the Friars of the community, I leave towards Bozoum. The car is packed with many things: my luggage plus bags of seeds to be distributed. They are a gift from “Seed Programs International, USA”. The distance isn’t short but finally the 400kms end, and at 05.00 am finally I reach Bozoum.
On Thursday 25th here in Central Africa we celebrate the Ascension, and I preside the Eucharist, which allows me to greet and pray with my Christians. In this way I restart my normal life in Bozoum.
And happy birthday!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Here and there in Italy

Bocca di Magra

Here and there in Italy
Once the Chapter reached his conclusion I stay ten days more in Italy in order to meet some people and different realities.
Between Saturday and Sunday, May 13th and 14th, I visit Don Ivo, my great friend, the parish priest at Casone di Marina di Massa. On Sunday I meet with great joy Maurizio, Maria Rita, Fabrizio and Alessandra, coming from far away Orte. We stay together for a few hours while we celebrate the Mass, and joyfully I receive a statue of Our Lady of Loreto, which I’ll bring to Bozoum. In the evening I finally arrive in Cuneo: today, in Italy, is the Mother's Day, and I took the great opportunity to stay with my mom who turned 90 years old on January.
Wednesday and Thursday I’m travelling again. I leave early from Cuneo, and after a stop at San Damiano d'Asti for some purchases for the church, in the morning I reach Milan, where I have an important meeting with the Carmelites of the Lombardy Province. At our meeting Is present the Father General. We have a long conversation and exchange of point of view regarding the current collaboration between our Mission in Central Africa and their Mission in Cameroon. After an evening with Cassina Amata's friends, who support the Orphans Arc en Ciel Center, along with the ONG Siriri in Prague, I drive towards Liguria. In the morning, I have a meeting in Genoa to discuss the great project of the new convent of Bangui, and then in the afternoon I move to Savona to visit the Mother General of the Sisters of Bozoum.  
The remaining days go away really fast, with a good numbers of meetings. They leave me always amazed because of such great interest to Central Africa, where by the way, the situation continues to be very worrying.
And Tuesday morning I will return to Bozoum, where I hope to arrive on Wednesday, just in time for the Ascension Day, which is celebrated in Central Africa on Thursday.

Corpus Domini, Milano

Santa Maria Nuova, Abbiategrasso

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Provincial Chapter 2

Provincial Chapter 2
Saturday and Sunday (May 6th and 7th) we suspend the Chapter’s work. As for me it’s an opportunity, among other commitments, to spend some time in Cuneo with my family.
On Monday morning, at 9.30am, the Chapter restarts working. This week we listen and discuss the Communities reports of our Province.
Wednesday is the turn of Central Africa. For the occasion are with us Father Anastasio, the historic Administrator of the Missions, and Father Domenico who is in charge  for the Mission in Cameroon. Our relation is about the reality, hopes and difficulties of the work we carry on in Central Africa.
At the end of the morning we celebrate the Eucharist. The main celebrant is the Central African Father Mesmin, superior of Bangui's House. An exceptional guest is present too: a statue of baby Jesus well dressed up in an African style, embroidered with African motifs by Eva Kolmann, on Regina's design. This precious dress, just today, leaves towards Prague, where Father Mesmin, along with our Fathers, will take it to the Shrine of the “Infant Jesus of Praha” as a sign of gratitude and consecration of our Central African Mission.
The Chapter then continues and today, Saturday May 13th, we celebrate the end of our work with the Mass and the signing of the book of the legal Acts, which will be the testimony of our work to the future generations, to the History.
The 21 Carmelites present at the Chapter return to their communities, bringing with them reflections, work, prayer, fraternity and joy to be shared with all others Friars.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Provincial Chapter 1


Provincial Chapter 1
Every three years the Friars celebrate their Chapter: an intense moment of reflection, fraternity, prayer and discernment, in which we analyze our commitment to the consecrated life, the choices for the future and finally, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we elect the new Provincial Superior.
On Tuesday, May 2nd, we all (19 Friars) meet at Bocca di Magra, a beautiful convent which is also a “House of Spirituality”. There are young and mature Fathers of different countries (Italy, Czech Republic and Central Africa Republic). We are surrounded by plenty of serenity and much joy, though the moment is solemn and the decisions to be taken are really important.
On May 3rd, we elect the new Provincial.  The choice goes to Father Saverio Gavotto. The new Provincial had been some years in Central Africa, and then also in Israel. It is he who, after an intense prayer, accompanied by the prayers of all the convents of the Province and of many monasteries of cloister Nuns, is chosen.
In the following days, the 4 Councilors are also elected. They, together with the Provincial Superior, are the source of legislative decisions for the life of our Province. And now the legislative work of the Chapter goes on, enriched by intense prayer environment, without denying ourselves the joy of staying together.

P.Saverio Gavotto

Il Crocifisso antichissimo di Bocca di Magra