The season of Baptisms and Sacraments begins, at least for me.
The path to becoming a Christian is the fruit of an encounter. The encounter is with God and Jesus Christ. Becoming a Christian is not (only) living according to certain rules. It is not even (only) believing in God. Nor is it (only) loving others. Giacomo Biffi, great bishop of Bologna, wrote that "even before a religion, a morality, a cult, a philosophy, it is an EVENT: the event of the Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, which marks the beginning of the renewal of the people. Therefore it is timeless: unlike doctrines which are born, make a fortune, enchant for decades- perhaps for centuries, then they decay and die, while Christianity remains, precisely because it is a fact ”.
Here in Central Africa the path to receiving Baptism is quite long. Typically, it's 3 or 4 years of preparation. Preparation entrusted to the catechists, who in the villages are the heart of the Christian community.
After Confirmations, we now prepare for the various sacraments (Baptism and First Communions). Having already given my catechists their exams, on Sunday 30 May I went to Igwe, the smallest village. Despite a straw chapel, and despite the limitations of the catechists, everything was ready. Christians cut the grass around the church and put a tarp on the roof of the chapel in case of rain. Above all, the 8 were ready, between boys and girls who received baptism, and the two children of first Communion. Great celebration, but above all so much joy for such a great gift, and for the blessing of being in the Church.
Monday morning I left for Bangui, where I returned from today, Thursday. There were many meetings, and a lot of work to prepare the construction site of the new Carmel convent. We had to set up the machinery that will allow us to manufacture, on site, the more than 200,000 bricks needed to build the convent. The bricks are a mixture of part of earth, part of sand and a little bit of cement, and pressed with special machinery. We are waiting for the cement, which should arrive by river, from the Congo. It will take more than 4,500 bags of cement for the bricks alone!
|I nuovi battezzati|
Les nouveaux baptisés
|Scuola di Agricultura "Carmel" a Bangui|
L'école d'Agriculture "Carmel" à Bangui
|Fabbricazione dei mattoni a Bangui|
La production de blocs à Bangui