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Saturday, October 28, 2017

A friar, a priest and five bandits

A friar, a priest and five bandits
We had a very emotional week! On Saturday, October 21, a young Central African Carmelite Brother Christo made the Solemn profession of his vows for all his life: chastity, poverty, and obedience.
On Friday, I move from Bozoum to Baoro, where Saturday we have had an intense time of celebration and prayer. Brother Christo was "offered" by his parents, with a traditional ritual that reminds of the offering of the son to the bride. Later, we did pray for him while he was laying down on the ground. After the consecration, Brother Christo was welcomed by a hug by all the Carmelites present, and his school and life companions too did hug him celebrating with  a dance. For this occasion were present at the celebration some Friars from Italy (the Provincial Father Saverio, Father Anastasio, Father Davide, Father Andrea Maria and Father Lorenzo), together with others Friars from Cameroon, and all the Communities of Central Africa.
In the afternoon, we went back to Bouar to get ready for a second Celebration: the consecration to the priesthood. On Sunday, three young people became deacons, and three were consecrated priests. In addition to our two young people (Brother Christo, Deacon, and Odilon Priest), there were four seminarians from the diocese of Bouar. It was the first time in 50 years that we could see so many consecrations to the Priesthood! Brother Christo and Brother Odilon entered our seminary in 2000 and 1997 (among other commitments in those years I was the Director of the Seminary): long years of journey, research, discernment and dialogs. 
The following day, Monday, Father Solomon celebrated his First Mass at the Seminary: how much joy and emotion! Wednesday afternoon, after a day in Bozoum (where the situation of refugees continues to be worrying) I went back to Bouar for some meetings.
However, at 9.00 pm they call me because there were armed men inside the Seminary. While I sent someone to try to make a phone call and ask for help, I went straight to the soccer field. There on the field there were five young men, armed with gun machines, shouting and threatening. They took the guardian with them threatening to kill him. They wanted money and the car's keys.  Along with Father Marcello we began talking, and as he continues trying to calm them out, saying them it's a nonsense what they were doing, telling them also about the presence of children, etc., I follow the more convincing bad manners saying that we will not give anything at all! While speaking we could push them to the big iron gate. One of them, completely under the drug effects, began to drool, and in the meantime, the guardian was trying to run away through the open side of the gate. We were just in time to pull him back towards us able to close the gate. The bandits remained outside. Still some shots, screams and threats, but now they are out! After a while some guys from nearby villages began arriving, armed, and after a hour or so the policemen were there with us, and the bandits did flee. Very scared but, thanks to God, no wounded and no damages.

l'ordinazione di p.Odilon

Fr Christo, diacono

da sinistra: p.Federico, p.Andrea Maria, p.Odilon, p.Lorenzo, p.Saverio

Prima Messa di p.Odilon

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