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Monday, November 28, 2016

Rome and Prague





Rome and Prague
Thursday, November 17ht I travel from Brussels to Rome, where I stay until Tuesday morning. These are days of encounters, meetings, interviews.
But the main reason why I’m in Rome it’s because Saturday, November 19ht, there will be the Consistory, the celebration in which the Pope creates new Cardinals, among them there will be the Archbishop of Bangui, Dieudonn√© Nzapalainga who is the first Cardinal of Central Africa Republic and this is, among others, a gift that Pope Francis offers to Central Africa, recognizing the great work of reconciliation and mediation that the Archbishop of Bangui has made in recent years. Thursday afternoon my meetings begin immediately. During these days are taking place the Assemblies of the FAO, of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and that of Agricultural Policies. This is an effort to involve skills and people, providing a help in the development of Central Africa.
Saturday morning I'm at St Peter's square. Large crowd, among which notably visible is the Delegation from Central Africa Republic, because of the yellow hats and, most of all, for the warmth of the songs and their vibrant participation. At 11am begins the Celebration. The new Cardinals represent many Countries of the world (Syria, Central Africa, USA, Spain, Bamgladesh, Malaysia, Albania ...). At that vision I feel and I see the powerful image of a Church so deeply involved in proclaiming Christ in the most difficult places of the planet.  After the celebration, the Central African delegation, on the higher level of the St.Peter's square, attracts the attention at their dances and songs. It’s the best way to communicate to others the great joy for this important gift of Pope Francis to Central Africa.
I meet as well with great joy, Sister Chiara, Sister Graziana and Sister Rosalie, of the Franciscan Missionaries of Fiesole which until 2015 they were in Bozoum. Sunday I move to Orte, to greet Maurizio Urbani, composer, who created http://www.bozoum.org/  site. Have a look at it and you’ll be surprised!  
Monday is a day dedicated mostly to the media. In the morning I’m at Vatican Radio: http://it.radiovaticana.va/news/2016/11/22/centrafrica,_p_gazzera_lonu_potrebbe_fare_meglio_e_di_pi%C3%B9/1273975 while in the afternoon I'm on TV2000, the TV show "The Diary of Pope Francis" :
Tuesday morning finally I travel towards Prague, where I find myself involved once more in meetings, interviews and reports about Central Africa.  Much of the work takes place, as well as with the Carmelite Fathers living in Prague (especially the tireless Fr. Anastasio) most of all with our friends, members of SIRIRI NGO, who are supporting in Central Africa a good number of services like  health and education projects. Last September they were in Bozoum training 130 teachers on the new methodology "Learning with fun - Apprendre en jouant". I have had as well the opportunity to meet the auxiliary bishop Vaclav Maly, who had been in Bozoum last year. l take the opportunity to visit few very fine schools where some of our friends teach. They are the ones who contributed a lot, with their experience, to improve the school in Central Africa.















Sunday, November 20, 2016

Europe - Central Africa




Europe - Central Africa
At present I did slow down my weekly blog’s updating but it didn't slow down my daily working.
Trying to have a bit of resting I have been able to meet many people who are interested in Bozoum and in Central Africa. Along with Paolo Silvestro we prepared the 2017 Calendar which will be ready very soon, enriched by a good number of beautiful pictures. 
Saturday, November 12th, I was with the Association "Friends for Central Africa" who organize an annual charity dinner for projects in Central Africa Republic. We began our cooperation since 2004, mostly in agriculture and health.
Monday 14th, I leave early from Cuneo, and at 6:30 am I’m on a flight towards Brussels. Here I find Marcela, member of the Association “Aid to the Church in Need”.  Here in Brussels Thursday, November 17th,   will take place a large "round table" centered on Central Africa, in which the Government will present to the International Community a program for the next five years, asking Governments and Organizations for funding the projects. The EU held a meeting in previous days just before our "round table" in order to remind the civil society and the various national and international NGOs how they could come together and express to the Government and the International Community about the needs and concerns of the Country. Attending to this meeting there were many Central Africans and representatives of the Country, including the Imam, a Pastor and the Archbishop of Bangui. Together they formed the platform of religious leaders, which contributed so much to "build up" the peace in Central Africa Republic. There were also members of the Government and even the President of Central Africa Republic. Together we have had much discussion on the actual situation and on what it should and could be done. And we hope and pray that all this work bear fruit!
At these very hours Fr. Enrico informed me that the contingent of ONU Peacekeepers, who was in Bozoum, has left the city. Unfortunately, people fear that the situation will get worse. We hope and pray!











Sunday, November 6, 2016

Italy




Italy
Here I am in Italy, where I'll stay for about ten days. These are busy days: meetings, programs and, hopefully, a bit of rest.
I arrived in Turin on October 26th , and after visiting my family, Saturday and Sunday 29th  and 30th of October I have been in Arenzano and Genoa for two important events: the Solemn Profession of vows and diaconate of two of our young Carmelites: Brothers Lorenzo and  Odilon. Brother Odilon is a Central African guy, and now he is ending his theological studies. He has been in Italy for some years. In a few months he will return to Central Africa beginning his pastoral work in his own Country.
Their Solemn Profession is the definitive commitment through the vows of Chastity, Poverty and Obedience. It is a very intense moment for our two young people, but also for our Discalced Carmelite Genoese Province.  It is also a highly significant moment of celebration and thanksgiving for the gift of vocations and for the gift of brotherhood. It's nice to get together, even if in many situations the distance is so great and not always it’s possible to meet everyone.  
In the following days I'll visit some friends, and in the coming weeks I will meet others...
It's always beautifully to find out much attention and love for Bozoum and deep interest about all that happens there.