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Sunday, June 10, 2018

Dar es Salaam

la cattedrale di Dar es Salaam

Dar es Salaam
After a few days since returning to Bozoum, I am on the road again. June 3rd, I celebrated the Sunday Masses in the parish, and so I could meet "my" people. Returning to Bozoum also means enjoying again the beautiful liturgical celebrations, full of songs, dances, careful listening and intense participation.
At the end of the morning I leave, direction Bangui. The road (400 km) worsens continuously, and now it takes about 7 hours to get there.
Monday morning I take the flight for Tanzania: 3 hours flight to Nairobi. Here I need to change the aircraft landing around 9.00 pm in Dar es Salaam, the capital. I’m welcomed by the Indian sisters of the Congregation of the Mother of Carmel, the first female Congregation founded in India in 1800 by S. Cyriacos Chavara and the Italian Father Leopoldo Beccaro, a Discalced Carmelite, founder, later, of our Arenzano convent. We have been collaborating with the Indian sisters in Central Africa since 1991, and my visit is an act of gratitude for their presence in our YolĂ© Seminary, in the Dispensary and in Schools.
I am here because on Thursday, June 7th, three young girls (from Tanzania and Kenya) having finished the novitiate are celebrating their first religious profession: they promise God to live in chastity, poverty and obedience. At 8.00 am we meet in the chapel of the community, where the families of these three girls entrust them to God. All three of them are dressed as brides! At 9.30 am begins the celebration of the Mass in a nearby parish: there are about twenty priests, families and many sisters of the Congregation, coming from all the houses of the African countries where they work (Sudan, Central Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, South Africa, and Malawi). After the homily, the three novices issue their Profession in the hands of the Mother General. Then they receive the new religious habit, as a sign of their new life as consecrated persons. The liturgy lasts about three hours, with songs and dances, all in Swahili, the language that unites many East African countries. The lunch follows, simple and well prepared.
In the evening I am invited to the party, in which all the communities of the Congregation bring some simple gifts, performing   dances and sketches. It is really enriching to see how women from different countries (India and Africa, Kenya, Malawi, Sudan, Tanzania), of different ages and formations, can live their consecration joyfully. Swahili alternates with English and Malayalam (the language of Kerala-India), but the joy that shines on these faces is unique, shining like the joy coming from the Risen One.

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