We recently received a letter from our brother, Father Federico Trinchero, ocd, from the convent of Bangui in the Central African Republic. He sent news about our missionaries there, of which we provide a brief summary here.
Currently, the community has 21 religious: 4 priests, 11 students, 1 postulant, and 5 pre-novices, with a median age of 26 years. Once in a while, it is strengthened by the arrival of Father Anastasio Roggero, who, at 80 years old, still visits his beloved mission of “Carmel” from Prague, his permanent residence, from which he continues working for the missions in general and for this one in particular.
The formation of these young adults “is and continues to be our primary mission from the youthful heart of Africa and the Church; a mission that keeps us busy every day and is demanding… but which is also entertaining,” says Father Federico.
Regarding the situation in the country, it remains precarious, especially in some regions (above all the north), although warfare is lessening and the situation in Bangui, particularly, is a lot calmer. The new president – democratically elected thanks to the help of French armed forces – is accepted by all factions in the country without argument; but unfortunately, mutual distrust between Muslims and Christians persists.
The number of refugees sheltered by our brothers in the mission has gone down considerably: from 10,000 in 2014 to 3,000. We will wrap up by sharing an enjoyable anecdote from Father Federico: “Frequently, when I travel along the roads down the center of town or kilometer 5, I am sidetracked by someone who recognizes my face, stops me, and shouts: ¡Bwa Federico, mbi lango na Carmel! Zone ti mbi 7 (Father Federico, I slept in Carmel! My area was zone 7). It has also happened that, excessively overwhelmed by memories, a child will proudly be lifted up with the words: So molengue ti mo! (And this is your son!). Luckily, due to the child’s dark skin color, I avoid malicious interpretations… but inevitably thoughts return, with some nostalgia, to those days when our refectory had been turned into an efficient delivery room and many children slept in the church or played in the chapter room.”