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Thursday, April 11, 2024

Faith, hope and a lot of charity!






Faith, hope and a lot of charity!

Here I am taking my first steps in Bangassou.

The climate here is very hot and humid, but luckily the first rains are starting to cool things down a bit.

The first steps with Mons. Aguirre include meeting and visiting the people and various parts of the city and the diocese.

First meeting with some of the priests from Bangassou and the surrounding areas on Friday morning. They're all pretty young, and it's nice to be able to start getting to know and appreciate them.

Saturday morning was a meeting with the Economic Affairs Council, they help the Bishop in managing a diocese.

Sunday was the day of my "first" solemn mass here.

The cathedral is very beautiful, and despite the rain it was full. The liturgy was beautiful and well attended, and I felt the prayer and affection of many people for the "new" bishop.

During the celebration I blessed a little girl, just a few days old, an orphan. Her name was Aurelia! When introducing her, the parish priest asks if there were 2 dads and 2 moms who would agree to become Aurelia's parents. Immediately we had some volunteers: they will take care of her and provide for her first purchases (clothes, diapers, milk, etc.).

The diocese of Bangassou is very active and attentive to the poorest. There are around 300 orphaned children welcomed into many families. For younger children and those with bigger problems, there is a beautiful centre, Maman Tongolo (Mamma Stella) where they live and grow in a peaceful environment.

This is where we went to visit on Monday afternoons. It was wonderful to see so many peaceful children, who finally have a space full of affection and joy in which to grow.

In the morning we visited the diocese hospital, directed by a small (but very great) Vietnamese nun (Sr. Elisabette). There are various buildings, and it is all very beautiful and very clean. The city's sick people, including many poor people, can come here. As well as  AIDS patients, who are followed very carefully.

Tuesday afternoon we visited another beautiful reality: the maison Espoir (Hope House). About forty people live here, who need protection because they are victims of witchcraft accusations. Many still bear the marks of lynching attempts…

They too are offered a possibility and a refuge of peace, hope, and a lot of charity.





Il vescovo Ahuirre con alcuni dei sacerdoti della diocesi
Mgr Aguirre avec une partie des prettres du diocèse
Cathédrale de Bangassou











Centro orfani Maman Tongolo
Centre des orphelins Maman Tongolo

Hopital du diocèse

Maison Espoir





Saturday, April 6, 2024

From Baoro to Bangassou




From Baoro to Bangassou

I am finally here in Bangassou!

Holy Week was very busy.

Holy Thursday I celebrated in Samba Bougoulou, the Mass where the priest washes the feet of 12 people, in memory of what Jesus did. It was the evening of the Last Supper, the day of the Eucharist and of the priests. The day in which Jesus gave us the example of how we must love: washing the feet of others.

On Friday morning I left around 7.30 with Fr. Aimé, who has helped me relocate. We arrived at Bayanga Didi around 10am, welcomed by the children from the nursery school, who sang for us.

Friday was dedicated to catechism exams and to the memory of the passion and death of the Lord.

Saturday was the day of great silence and great waiting. We took time to prepare for the sacraments, both in Bayanga Didi and Yoro.

In the evening we celebrated the great Easter Vigil, which began outside the chapel, with the blessing of the fire and the Easter candle, signs of Christ, the Light of the world.

During the Vigil there were baptisms and the various stages of the catechumenate. We finished after almost 3 hours, with a very beautiful ceremony, which was also well attended.

On Sunday, Easter day, we moved to Yoro. While Fr. Aimé remained here,  after confessions we celebrated Mass with baptisms, I then left on foot for Sinaforo, just over 7 km away.

Here too there was a baptism.

It was the opportunity to say goodbye definitively to the people of these villages...

I returned to Yoro on foot at 1pm, and I was almost overcome by the heat!

We left around 2pm, and 15km away we saw 2 armed men. Luckily, when they saw us (perhaps believing we were Russian mercenaries) and they ran away into the bush.

At 4.30pm we arrived in Baoro, tired but happy.

Monday was the time for the last farewells, with the confreres and the parish community.

I've been saying goodbye for a month now... and it's not easy. It's now time to leave!

On Tuesday I went down to Bangui.

From there on Thursday I left on a United Nations plane: departure at 8.30, and after a short stop in Ndele, I finally arrived in Bangassou just before 12.

Here I found the bishop, Mgr Aguirre, who came with a good dozen priests from the diocese to welcome and greet me.

We set off towards the Cathedral, passing through the forest.

There is a lot of greenery, and lots of trees, and it is very hot!

And thus this adventure begins, this new page in life, as Mgr Aguirre told me when he welcomed me.

Bayanga Didi

Erythrina Senegalensis

La cattedrale di Bangassou
La cathédrale de Bangassou

Mgr Aguirre e alcuni sacerdoti

On the way…


Caffé in fiore
Fleurs de café

 On the way…

Life is a journey, Lent too, and as the time to move to Bangassou approaches, Easter is also approaching.

During the past few weeks, I have been moving between Baoro in the diocese, and others in Bangui.

Last Monday I was in Bangui. I lent a hand on the construction site of the new convent, which now is being passed to other managers. Alessio and Manuel are still there, who are very valuable for the plumbing systems and other building work.

From Tuesday to Friday I was with Monsignor Aguirre, the bishop of Bangassou. With him we made some plans, and began preparations for the episcopal consecration, which will take place in Bangui on June 9th.

Yesterday, Holy Tuesday, I spent the whole day in Bouar, and together with Bishop Mirek and the priests of the diocese we celebrated the Chrism Mass: a unique celebration, which saw all the clergy gathered around the bishop, who blessed the oils for the sacraments .

It was also an opportunity to say goodbye to the diocese of Bouar, where I have worked for 33 years.

In the next few days I will be in Brousse, in the villages of Yoro, Sinaforo and Bayanga Didi, the furthest away. It is here that we will celebrate Easter and the triduum, and where around twenty people will receive baptism.

And then... off we go: on Tuesday after Easter I will go down to Bangui, and on Thursday I will finally arrive in Bangassou.

A bit like the title of the blog, which I changed these days.

Happy and Holy Easter wishes to everyone: may the joy of the Lord who gives his life for us and who rises again be our joy!


Here are the  new blog title :after Bozoum, news from Bangassou



Esami di catechismo a Yoro
Examens de catéchisme à Yoro

Carmel - Bangui

Albero del caffé
l'arbre du café

preparativi per le Palme
Préparatifs des reameaux


Caritas Bouar

Messa crismale a Bouar
Messe Chrismale à Bouar