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Sunday, October 23, 2016

Final touches

Final touches
Sunday we celebrated the feast of St. Teresa (our foundress) in one of the three chapels of Bozoum, the one dedicated to her. Monday we resumed work.
Much fear not to end up on time and all of us does its best: bricklayers decorators, painters, carpenters ... And we are getting ready! Electrical systems, audio and plumbing are functioning ... the coats and the paintings are done, even the floors, and the roof is finished. There will still be some adjustments, but right now everything seems to be OK.
In addition to the construction site, this week is also filled by the presence of so many Christians preparing themselves for the Inauguration Day. We wanted to transform this event in a moment of grace and reflection. We invited not only all Christians of Bozoum, but also those of the 37 villages in which we work. And nearly 350 people came to this "three days" (in French is called "Conférence") of prayer and reflection on Mercy, as well on the gift of the new church. Both Fr. Marcello and Fr. Maurice came from Bouar and Baoro, and are helping our community of faithful to reflect and pray.
Finally on Sunday ... great celebration!

Saturday, October 15, 2016


Last Friday I continued with my commitments in Bangui in view of the project of building a new Carmelite convent. While Enrico Massone was busy with bricks, with the purpose to carry out a particular kind of roof that we would like using in the new construction, together with the Provincial and the architect, Giovanni Grossi Bianchi, I go to visit the Archbishop of Bangui, Mons. Dieudonné Nzapalainga, a man of God who did so much for the peace in Central Africa Republic.
It is He who Pope Francis chose as Cardinal, as announced last Sunday. Great surprise! It is the first cardinal appointed in Central Africa Republic, and the first Central African Cardinal! We are so happy, and also somewhat proud! Really in the Church Central Africa has one of the top positions ... just as the Gospel teaches!
On Saturday, with Fr.Giustino, Fr.Davide Sollami and Giovanni Grossi Bianchi I'm back in Bozoum. We left at 5:30am, and at 12:30pm we are in Bozoum. I have just the time to show them the new church, and then I need to go to bed because malaria strikes again!
On Sundays I rest, while Fr.Enrico celebrates the Mass. The Provincial is very pleased of the new church ... almost a Cathedral!
On Wednesday we receive an important visit!  Italy's Ambassador to Cameroon and the Italian vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Mario Giro, come to visit us. We take a tour among the various schools the Savings Bank, the Orphans Centre and then ... I prepare pizza for everyone!
These days the work of the church is going on. We are making the floors, painting, preparing furniture and benches. A young artist, who I know since long ago, Charlemagne Laprang, is painting the saint apostles.
La grande Bellezza. The Great Beauty!

particolare di costruzione della volta a Bangui
détails de construction de la voute à Bangui

Il nuovo Cardinale di Bangui
Le Nouveau Cardinal de Bangui

L'Ambasciatrice ed il Vice Ministro in visita alla Scuola di Alfabetizzazione di Bozoum

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Festivity, work and big projects

Festivity, work and big projects
Sunday, October 2nd, we celebrated the feast of St. Michael, the patron saint of the parish. In the previous days we have "warmed the hearts" with the celebrations of the Eucharist and the Sacrament of penance.
And, finally, on Sunday we can return to the church for the celebrations after being absent for three Sundays in a row. Expectations are high, in order to get a view, at least in part, at the "new" church. The works continue quite quickly. On the same Sunday we celebrate a wedding and two baptisms. And the joy is at its fullness!
On Tuesday I'm back on the road toward Bangui, where I stay for a few days committed to a number of meetings and encounters. Arriving in Bangui, I am forced to avoid some neighborhoods, because in the morning an army colonel was killed. As a consequence there is much commotion. In the afternoon it’s easy to hear pretty close the gunfire, sometimes from heavy weapons. In the evening I welcome at the airport, Fr.Giustino, our provincial superior, Fr.Davide Sollami, our administrator for the missions, Fr.Enrico, the architect Giovanni Grossi Bianchi and Enrico Massone, long-time volunteer bricklayer. I'm here on a visit to submit and discuss a major project: the construction of a new convent here in Bangui.  
On Wednesday morning I go to the airport to receive Sr.Bensitta and Sr.Brice, Sisters in charge, in Africa, of the Indian Congregation of Sisters of Mother of Carmel (whom I visited in India last April). They’re here on a visit and, above all, to give a better shape to the idea of opening a Convent here in Bangui, at the Carmel. I greet them and immediately I go to town to attend, at least for few hours, at a meeting of Caritas. It is a very important one: is present at the meeting the president of Caritas International, with other people of Rome and Nairobi Agencies together with representatives of the Secours Catholique (the French Caritas) and CRS (Caritas USA). The goal is to reflect together in order to help the Central African Caritas to restart with courage and passion in serving the poor. In the afternoon I go back to the Carmel, and at 5.00pm we celebrate the first profession of vows by Br.Loic.
On Thursday we continue the discussion about the major project of a new monastery, which begins to take shape.
And just today, October 7, we celebrate 10 years of our presence here in Bangui.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Last week in September

Last week in September.
A new school year just began and this week the children are back to school. Here in our Mission there are:
1. Kindergarten "Ste Marthe": 150 children
2. The elementary schools "Isidore Bakanjia": about 850 kids
3. The school literacy (school recovery): 70 boys and girls
4. The women's advancement center "Cana": 30 girls
5. The Secondary and High School "St. Augustin": 250 young students
So we resume the school year which is  an opportunity and a treasure for many children, that scatter joy from all sides! Monday I’m just on time to follow the Schools opening and by mid-morning I leave towards Bangui. I take the ten Prague volunteers who return home after the thrilling job in training 150 teachers. Once in Bangui I visit the area of our convent of Carmel, where there are still nearly 3,000 refugees. Among other things, I discover some cocoa trees and a 1943 car still functioning! On Wednesday I’m back to Bozoum. The church works continue intensively, also because on Sunday we celebrate the Parish feast which is dedicated to Saint Michael. Thursday and Friday the Scouts and other Ecclesiastical Movements come to help us out. In Bozoum these days are passing by many NGOs, fleeing Bocaranga, 125 km far from here.  Over there they are under serious threats by armed gangs. One last thing: I would like to prepare a calendar to be printed and made available to those who want it. I’m planning to choose some of the photos from my blog. If you want to participate in selecting pics,   you can go here:  (rate the picture) and follow the instructions to choose one or more photos that you prefer.

Lycée St.Augustin

école Isidore Bakanjia

I volontari dell'ONG SIRIRI e la comnità del Carmel a Bangui


un'auto del 1943...