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Saturday, April 14, 2018

SUNDAY “IN ALBIS”



Il Consiglio Presbiterale
le Conseil Presbyteral


SUNDAY “IN ALBIS
On Friday, the day after the training course for the personnel of the parish Caritas in Bouar, I took part to the Presbyteral Council, together with a dozen priests and the Bishop. The Presbyteral council is made up of some priests of the diocese. Part of the members are diocesan priests, while few others are chosen by the Bishop.  At this meeting of the Council, the Bishop discussed with us and helped us to take decisions. Each one of us freely brings in his point of view, giving also some suggestions to the Bishop. In the afternoon I return to Bozoum, and on Sunday I meet all the newly baptized at Easter Vigil, all dress up with their white clothes. In ancient times this Sunday was called "Sunday in albis", because, after a week of catechesis and formation, the baptized use to return to the church to be part once again in the Mass, dress up with the white clothes of baptism.
On Tuesday afternoon I went to the Rizicole Center in Bohoro, where we began the dam fixing works. While the masons repair the concrete parts, about thirty young people, armed with shovels and carriages, clean the bottom of the lake, which will allow to hold more water.
On Wednesday I go to Bangui, to meet our Community and to take a good look to the making of the Agricultural School. The two buildings are growing pretty well, almost close to the roof. The new technique of bricks made in pressed earth is of a very great help.  These two structures are aesthetically very beautiful.
And for the next week I like to announce in advance two surprises.

i battezzati
les baptisés


i lavori al Centre Rizicole
les travaux au Centre rizicole



la Scuola d'Agricoltura a Bangui
L'école d'agriculture à Bangui




Sunday, April 8, 2018

Easter 2018






Easter 2018
Day after day we have finally reached Easter.
Holy Saturday was a day of silence and meditation. In the afternoon, at 6:30 pm, we got together at the square facing the church, around a huge bonfire. It was already dark and fire became soon the symbol of Christ the Risen One. After lighting from the fire the paschal candle we entered the church. Little by little all the candles were lit up and the song of the "Exultet" that proclaims Jesus Resurrection resounds with joy. Then we listen to the many Readings: through the Scriptures we revisited God’s work among the humanity from the very beginning to Jesus the One who made us free from the death, the only Risen One. And finally it was time to celebrate the Baptisms for  85 Catechumens: babies, kids, youth and adults. It was a very intense moment, almost like the moment of a birth, in which the Mother Church brings her children into a new existence.
The joy is immense. The church is full of faithful as outdoors in the square. During the songs, everyone dances with joy. Among the dancing and singing crowd I saw Virginia, an elderly lady, who recently had a slight stroke. She also joined the dance. The great Liturgy ended  after 10 pm. Little by little the baptized walked down to the city with the other faithful, and the city is filled with songs, which will last all night and the next day.
On Sunday morning, Easter day, the baptized presented themselves in all their splendor, with the white dress. During the Mass the church resounds of songs and dances. There was also a celebration of a wedding. Happily got married Guy Giscarde and Raissa Irene. After the mass, all the baptized go back to their homes, together with friends and family, wrapped up with colored cloths.
We stay with the Sisters for our meal saying goodbye to Sr. Lidia who, after almost three years, returns to Congo, due to health problems. Throughout the week, Easter octave, there is a party atmosphere. The new baptized come every day for the Mass celebration.
On Thursday I go to Bouar, where we organized a day of formation for the Caritas of the parishes of Bouar (Fatima, Wantingera and Cathedral), Baoro, Baboua, Niem and Bohong. Nearly ten priests are present at the meeting together with the Sisters. With us there are thirty lay people involved in the various communities of the diocese in favor of the poorest to be "the hands of the heart of the Church," as Pope Paul VI said.

P.Enrico battezza


Pasqua, i nuovi battezzati.


Matrimonio
Mariage







Saluto a Sr Lydie (a sinistra)
Au revoir, Sr Lydie (à gauche)


Formazione Caritas


Sunday, April 1, 2018

Towards Easter




Towards Easter
With the celebration of Palm Sunday our journey towards Easter takes acceleration, kind of. Tuesday morning, boys, girls, youths and adults who will receive the baptism gather for a moment of prayer and reflection. The leader for the reflection and prayer is Father Matteo.
In the morning we give the report cards to our High School students, and in the afternoon I leave toward Bouar. On the way I stop at the Rizicole Center in Bozoum, where, with the help of the “Lent of Fraternity” of the Diocese of Cuneo, we have begun maintenance work on the dam. The basin provides water during the dry season, and this allows to have two crops per year. But in some places the water has damage the dam allowing huge leaking decreasing the capacity and endangering the whole rice fields. At present the farmers of the cooperative have emptied the artificial lake, and started to excavate the areas to be repaired.
In Bouar, Wednesday morning, we celebrate the Chrism Mass. It is a very special Mass, during which the priests renew their promises and commitments in the service of the Church, and the Bishop blesses the oils that will be used for the sick and the catechumens, and blesses also the Chrism, which is used for the baptisms, the Confirmations and the Priestly ordinations. At this special celebration are present about forty priests from all over the diocese to concelebrate with the new Bishop.
In the afternoon I go back to Bozoum stopping in the village of Bokaya, where I greet Baba Michel, the old catechist. I think he is almost ninety! He is surrounded by a large number of nephews, of whom he is very proud!
With Holy Thursday the Easter Triduum begins. Thursday is the day when we celebrate the Eucharist, the Priesthood and the Washing of the feet, with which Jesus gives us the Commandment of Love. Friday we commemorate the Passion and Death of Jesus. And Saturday night we will celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus, and with it the Baptisms of our catechumens.
And so ... Happy Easter everyone!


Domenica delle Palme
Dimanche des Rameaux



la diga di Bohoro
le barrage du Centre Rizicole de Bohoro









Baba Michel di Bokaya


l'Altare della Deposizione




Sunday, March 25, 2018

On the way






On the way
At our Mission, the weeks before Easter are very intense: preparation to the Sacrament of Baptism (with the catechism tests, moments of spiritual retreat and prayer), the first school term ends, and the Holy Week is approaching.
During the week I go to Baoro, accompanied by a light rain. It’s the beginning of the rainy season. This year the rain seems to be a bit early. The last ones had arrived around the middle of November. The meteorology tells us that in a slowly way the rainy season is close. When the rain will be more consistent and regular, it’s then that farming job will restart.
The Saturday preceding Palm Sunday is traditionally the day of Youth Pilgrimage. This year it will last a single day, about 5 km from Bozoum. De departure at 8.00 am under a beautiful sun. We are about 400 people walking together the 5 Km praying. When we reach the river, we stop there  for all morning reflecting on the theme proposed by Pope Francis for this World Youth Day: "Do not be afraid, Mary, because you have found favor before God" (Lk 1:30). Our meditation is followed by the Sacrament of Confession. Around 1.00 pm we celebrate the Mass. Then a little 'free time. Given the heat, we all, almost all, dive into the river nearby the Ouham. At 3:00 pm, just as we get ready to leave, a downpour is on us, and in the rain we return to Bozoum.
Despite the tiredness, boys and girls sing all the way, waving the palms they found, almost a prelude to the feast of tomorrow, Palm Sunday.