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Thursday, October 19, 2017

Saint Teresa & Co.

Saint Teresa & Co.
 On Sunday, October 15th we did enjoy St. Teresa celebration. We Discalced Carmelites call her "the Holy Mother" because she has reformed the Carmel family. A great woman, full of love for God and for the Church, who has succeeded in establishing a new religious Family, beginning with cloister nuns and continuing with the Friars.
At Bozoum Church one of the chapels is dedicated to her, and on Sunday we celebrated Mass at that chapel. We got ready to the celebration with a triduum of prayers. The Feast was a great time of prayer and joy. The number of refugees in Bozoum remains high. Unfortunately, the situation in the North remains tense. As I was concerned, the UN Peace Keepers operation planned to "liberate" the Bocaranga area turned out to be a useless operation. The rebels have not been defeated. They simply moved a few kilometers away, going on with their criminal actions. Just
Yesterday I received testimony of acts of sexual violence made by MPC members in Nzoro, not far from Ngaundaye. Between Saturday and Monday there were two distributions for the refugees people. We could give them foods thanks to the World Food Program (WFP) together with kitchenware, blankets, mats, sheets and buckets, made available by HCR (High Commissariat for Refugees). On Tuesday, the School for Refugees began. The Study Superintendent gave us the possibility to keep open the classrooms for the afternoon schools and we started with 8 classes, and 210 students to which others will soon be added. On Tuesday morning I get up early going to Bangui, to welcome some Sisters belonging to the Indian Congregation of the Mother of Carmel. It is an important moment because they are about to open a second House in Bangui, and there are 3 sisters (Sr. Nirmal and Sr. Pradeeba from India, and Sr. Catherine from Malawi). With them there's the Vicar General Mother. On Thursday afternoon we leave driving towards Bouar, where we arrive late at night, greeted by the Yolé Seminary guys with a great party. It is a new chapter in our history. We did work with Indian Sisters for more than 25 years and, after a few months in Bouar, the Sisters will return to Bangui to work especially for girls and women promotion.

Cappella Santa Teresa
la Chapelle de Sainte Thérèse

distribuzione viveri
distribution des vivres

Distribuzione secchi, coperte, zanzariere, materiale cucina
Distribution de seaux, couvertures, moustiquières, oustensiles de cuisine

école déplacés

l'arcobaleno, segno di benevenuto per le suore indiane

Sr Grace, sr Catherine, Sr Pradeeba, Sr Nirmal

Friday, October 13, 2017

Refugees. 2

We continue working with the refugees. Their number remains fairly stable, around 3,800 people. The "system" of NGOs and United Nations Agencies has proved to be quiet efficient, and they begin to get a positive feedback, although it often takes a long time to fulfill all the bureaucratic passages. 
This is the reason why when we purchased the medicines on Tuesday we did buy also 2.6 tons of rice, which we immediately distributed to the 700 and plus families. Together with the Red Cross, a small dispensary was opened, which mainly cares for the refugees who come to us with the personal I.D. card we got ready for each family nucleus.
Just in these hours we are taking care of school enrollment hoping to open a refugee school beginning this Monday coming.
The solidarity is really huge, perhaps because our people have still in their heart and memory the bad experience they lived for almost two months between December 2013 and January 2014 when they too were refugees here at the Mission. On Sunday the Offertory of the mass was very generous, and St. Vincent Society brought food and soap, which we immediately distributed.
The actual situation at Bocaranga remains very uncertain. There has been a military operation by the U.N. Peace Keeper, but we fear that the rebels who run a few kilometers away, they can be back as soon as the Blue Helmets will leave, and this can happen in a few weeks time.
On Saturday afternoon also here in Bozoum  came a contingent of Blue Helmets. We had to work hard convincing people to accept them, because they fear their presence could be the reason for an occupation of Bozoum by rebels.
On Tuesday morning I went to Bangui in order to welcome our Provincial Superior, Father Saverio and the superior of the Indian Sisters who are in Bouar, and who are planning to open a new house in Bangui. On Thursday morning we leave before 05.00 am arriving at Bouar around 01.00 pm. I leave there the Sisters, driving finally back towards Bozoum, after 600 km of road and 11 hours of driving.
i doni della San Vincenzo

il riso di Bozoum

p.Saverio e p.Federico

Saturday, October 7, 2017

3,222 three thousand two hundred twenty two

3,222 three thousand two hundred twenty two
There are still hundreds of people (children, adults, the elderly, pregnant women) who run away from the worst. The city of Bocaranga, taken by the rebellious 3R movement, on September 23, is at present firmly in their hands, while the luky ones did escape. 
On Saturday, we begin the census. With the help of delegates, chosen by the IDPs, and volunteers from Caritas and other NGOs, each family comes sharing their data. We pay particular attention to the children. We put data on the computer, and for now there are 3,222 people, 2,137 of them are children. 
A good number of people giving their solidarity do a bit of everything: who opens the doors, who brings something to eat, who helps in cleaning schools and spaces to accommodate everyone. 
On Sunday morning at Mass, the Movement of the Legion of Mary quickly organizes a fund raising, kind of, for the refugees: and they collect  peanuts, cassava, rice, bread, soap, clothes.
 Many Organizations are on alert. And even from Prague, both the ONG Siriri and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are helping us. A small group of Italian friends too, gathered for a BBQ, asking among their friends collect Euro 150 ! Beautiful generosity !
On Tuesday, in the morning, we celebrate the Mass for all students in our schools (Kindergarten, Elementary, Middle, High School, Literacy): a flood of children and teens invade the church! 
Wednesday afternoon I leave towards Bouar. In the first 70 km I meet 17 antibalaka barriers, armed with rifles and various tools. There is one of this barrier every 4 km. Naturally, I stop at every barrier, and having with the rebels,very young people, a  surreal dialogue. They say they want  to defend the Country, but at the same time all of them feel forced to stop asking for a payment. 
On Thursday morning we are at the diocesan annual Meeting, that brings together all the parishes. This year, given the situation, the meeting is reduced to just one day. But it touches our hearts listening  to the testimony of many fathers, sisters, and catechists who witness the presence of God the Father in the most dangerous areas. 
Almost half of the diocese is threatened. Some cities are a theater of dangerous confrontations (Ngaundaye, Ndim, Bocaranga, Niem) and many escape in less inscrutable areas (Bozoum, Bouar). 
On Friday morning we meet other parish priests, sisters and catechists of the most affected areas, and we try to organize ourselves in order to help them in a better leaving the meeting with the  basic medicines to cure the refugees.. 
October is the missionary month, and we start it  with so much pain for the poor people who suffer and flee. With so much pain for the victims (killing, plundering, violence). With so much pain for the armed groups, the authors of all this. And with so much pain for those who could and should do something, and did nothing !

i doni dell'offertorio per gli sfollati

Alzabandiera al Lycée St Augustin

Messa per gli alunni

I medicinali per gli sfollati
Les médicaments pour les déplacés

Friday, September 29, 2017

San Michele and warning signs of war

Gauthier con la carrozzina nuova

San Michele and warning signs of war
On Sunday we celebrated, with a few days in advance, the patron saint of the Parish of Bozoum, Saint Michael Archangel.  We got ready for the celebration by a couple of days of preparation. The feast of Saint Michael is a strong moment for our parish, which finds itself reflecting on its origins, and reaffirming God's authority and protection.
On Saturday afternoon we went in procession through the Mission area with the statue of St. Michael followed by a very large crowd of people praying and singing. On Sunday at 8.30am we celebrate the solemn Mass. Once more large number of people, intense prayer and songs and dances. Right after Mass there were the finals of some football and basketball games. At 12.30 we have had lunch (matanga) with the catechists, the responsible of the various Groups and all those who in one way or another are committed to help the parish.
The celebration day somehow was disturbed by a serious concern: the day before, on Saturday 23rd , the city of Bocaranga was again attacked by rebels from the 3R group (Seleka area), forcing people to flee. The rebels' intention is to occupy the city, and they do not seem to have any intention of leaving soon. Their arrival has triggered general panic and escape fugitives. There were dead, killed by the rebels, and everything happened under the eyes of the UN Peace Keepers, doing just nothing to stop the rebels.
Many of the fleeing people arrived here at Bozoum: 125 km of road, and for many on foot! The concern of the nearby war, so close to our Mission, goes together with the suffering of seeing thousands of people who have lost everything. These days we need to organize their presence.
Tomorrow morning, Saturday, we will start a census, family by family, so we have a better idea how to intervene. We are in need of homes, food, medicine, school, cooking utensils ... But most of all we need PEACE! It’s an urgent and almost desperate need.


Osso di elefante
Un os d'éléphant

Riunione rifugiati
Réunion déplacés

Rifugiati di Bocaranga a Bozoum
Déplacés de Bocarnga à Bozoum