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Saturday, September 24, 2016

Trainings






Trainings
Last Friday I was able to leave at 1.00 pm towards Bozoum. The road is in poor condition, but I still can move on, and around 6.00 pm I reach our convent of St. Elias, in Bouar, 250 km away from Bozoum.
I'm here because our young trainees are at the end of a week of spiritual exercises, and in the evening some of them (8) will renew their vows for one year. Saturday morning it's a great moment for 5 young people (2 from Central African Republic and 3 from   Cameroon). They are going to receive the Carmelite habit beginning their year of novitiate   (a year of strong spiritual and communitarian experience). In the afternoon another 5 young people (1 Cameroonian and 4 Central African) are at conclusion of their novitiate year, ready to celebrate the first profession of vows, promising God chastity, poverty and obedience. It's a strong and a wonderful time of gratitude to God for these young people on a personal committed journey.
At 6.00 pm, under a very heavy rain, I leave for Baoro, where I arrive around 7.30 pm. The distance actually is only 60 km, but the road is a river of mud. After a rather short rest, the day after I’m again on the road at 4.30 am driving from Baoro, and shortly before 8 am I am back in Bozoum, just in time for a coffee and, above all, for the Sunday Mass.
On Monday we begin again the training of 150 elementary teachers, with the project "Educating playing".  In the morning I go to the airport (a landing dirt track ...) to welcome Adrien, member of the French Embassy that funds much of the training program. By the way, the training goes well, with the enthusiasm of the Czech trainers, belonging to the Organization SIRIRI, and the teachers.
On Thursday we close the session, with a well-deserved diploma. The city Authorities are with us, and we hope that many schools will open up to this new learning experience.

























Sunday, September 18, 2016

Moving, travel and training...



Moving, travel and training
Due to ongoing works, we relocated the Sunday Mass celebration in the great Theater Hall. It’s a temporary solution, which perhaps makes us ready to enjoy to its best the church enlargement with all the renewed areas. These days we have begun to lay the 24 stained glass windows and slowly we are reaching the goal.
Monday I went to Bangui, and I came back on Wednesday morning, with a large group of Czech friends of Prague and its neighborhoods. They are volunteer members of SIRIRI.ORG, an NGO that supports us and did help us for years. They are the ones who have created the "Apprendre en jouant" project (Learning by playing). It’s a very interesting project, which provides a highly participatory approach in the teaching in order to help first-graders to think and to learn while having fun adding also lessons on the national language (Sango) instead of the French language, to teach them reading and to write. After a year of practicing the project in our elementary school and given the excellent results, we expect to widen the experience.
So on Thursday we have started a week of training for 150 teachers belonging to public and private schools in Bozoum and other towns and villages of the region.
I now add this last news: the website   http://www.bozoum.org/   which is an idea of a friend, Maurizio Urbani, who likes to share his project with these words: my name is Maurizio and I am a layman madly in love with God and His Holy Mother. I try to nurture with care my little spiritual garden and I have a deep respect for my neighbour, Catholic (like myself) or of any other faith or atheist. I do not have any kind of foreclosures. I agree to dialogue with everyone as long as the dialogue remains within the limits of politeness avoiding improper language. I 'm deeply interested in the history of the Church, the Religious consecrated families (friars and nuns), the hermit monks and the Ministers of the Word from contemplatives to the missionaries. The bozoum.org website was created with the primary intent to promote the activities of the Carmelite missionaries in Bozoum, a mission in Central African Republic. In addition to the breaking news 'taken' directly from the official blog of Fr. Aurelio Gazzera "Bozoum Live", on my website there’ll be various information and photo galleries. Bozoum.org also contains a number of Christian music tracks available for free downloading. If you like any of the songs and if you think that for you it’s a positive idea, after downloading it, you can make a small donation. Or if you want you can make as well a contribution “in nature” which in a Christian vision, means praying for Bozoum Mission, "….and your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you." (Mt 6,6) I wish you all prosperous and enjoyable life.
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la Messa nella sala Teatro
La Messe dans la Salle du Théatre











Sunday, September 11, 2016

Caritas, tests and demolitions


la strada (???) per Bangui
la route (???) pour Bangui


Caritas, tests and demolitions
In the weekend Fr. Luk, a Belgian Salesian who is the National Director of Caritas Centrafrique, came to visit us here in Bozoum. The purpose of his mission was to visit the Caritas of our diocese, a reality which is under my responsibility. We talked a lot about how to make Caritas more and more dynamic, because it shouldn’t be a kind of NGO financed by external sources, but should become instead able to serve its purpose which is to liven up the charity in the various parishes, in such a way that Christians can look after troubled people and act consequently.
On Monday we received a visit from Andrea Tani, who lives in Bangui as representative of the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation. With him we visited the different realities of the Mission.
With regard to the work of enlargement of the church, it was a rather important week. We have demolished part of the previous building, and posed other two large trusses of about 11 meters each. Now finally we begin to see something really exciting! All we see now as a reality it’s due to a good team of masons and carpenters, and some volunteers. Here a video: 
Wednesday and Thursday we welcomed about 150 students from other schools who would like to attend our elementary school "Isidore Bakanjia" or our Elementary-High School "St. Augustin". Those admitted were around thirty. Unfortunately the educational system of the Country is still in severe crisis.












Sunday, September 4, 2016

Orchids are blooming again




Orchids are blooming again
The month of August rich in rain (the road to Bangui is often blocked by mud) brings also the orchids. At least this is happening in Bozoum!  During this month, on the road towards the mission, the mongo-trees are full of white orchids. They are arranged in clusters. They are not so visible, although  a cluster is 30-40 cm long. Nevertheless, they are there and in their hidden and silent beauty they speak.
In the meanwhile the work of the enlargement of the church continues. Some workers seal the colored glass-windows with cement. This is a very meticulous job and it takes a very long time. We need to wait for the cement to dry and to become hard. This takes at least two weeks to be accomplished. Only then can we begin with the installation of the windows.
Other workers are building the walls in the higher area of the church while the carpenters go on positioning the truss. But we are having problems finding the right wood (to finish this work) not even in Bangui, the capital.
But the Providence is great! This last Sunday, in the parish council, we discussed how to combine these events:  the celebration of the enlargement of the church and the catechesis about ‘Mercy’.
 This will happen in October: - - - - - I am waiting for you!













Monday, August 29, 2016

Baptisms and kilometers




Baptisms and kilometers
Sunday August 21st we experienced a special moment: 9 children were baptized! They were 3 months of age and 3 years old. During this Year of Mercy they received the grace to become sons of God! While baptizing them, I think about the grace we received by Baptism! How short we are in appreciating the gift!
Monday morning at 5.00 am I resume the work of the church glasses ending up at about 10.00 am, just in time to get ready to leave towards Bangui where I arrive, together with my Italian friends, around 7.00 pm.  Tuesday I have enough time for a few meetings and visits. Then I take all my friends to the airport because they are going back to Italy, along with Fr.Enrico Redaelli who is going back for a period of well-deserved time of rest.
As they leave, arrives with the same flight Fr. Maurice Maikane, a Carmelite priest, born in Bozoum. He is back after three years spent in Rome to deepen his studies in youth ministry.
With him I leave Bangui on Wednesday morning around 6:30 am arriving at noon in Baoro his new community. In the afternoon I travel again: direction Bouar. The next morning I’m once more on the road back to Bozoum.
I covered a long distance with lots of kilometers (over 1,100 Km).  Life is beautiful that way too!