Saint Josephine Bakhita Mission
Virginia 10 October 2012
“NO ONE HAS A GREATER LOVE THAN THIS: TO GIVE HIS LIFE FOR HIS FRIENDS”
Dearest Mother Elvira, Father Stefano and everyone,
all of your prayers have brought much grace, peace and joy to Liberia and to all of us. The true feast had already started a few weeks ago with the feeling of unity and enthusiasm that you felt among us in preparing the house and the day: who has the most puts in the most… We were surrounded by a lot of life, there were people who came to observe us, looking around, asking themselves what we were doing and many times so not to stay there all stiff they helped us with our work. Not to say about all those who were involved in the evangelical representation and in the dances, that is: our little neighbours who, from day one have shown themselves faithful and enthusiastic in doing something new, starting from their own homes. Everyday they were asking us: “So it is tomorrow the drama… What time are the practices at?” Even when we didn’t have the practices they still wanted to come. They really gave the best of themselves, surprising us: many of them don’t know who Jesus is, they’ve heard people speak about Him but they come from other religions… but God put us together!
The feast took place in the games room that only a short while ago we finished painting and to which we have given the name Saint Dominic Savio, entrusting it to his protection. The theme of the feast was the same as that of the Feast of Life, the only difference being that it was in English; in the middle of the room we painted a large world with all of the continents coloured and we hung the cross from our chapel in the middle. All around we put the photos up. We borrowed some benches from the Shrine… It seemed like a really nice church. But we couldn’t forget Mary and so we gave Her a place of honour, from where She could see everyone and everyone could see Her. Really the place was full of light! Many were invited: friends, priests, consecrated, neighbours who came in great numbers with many, many children along with their families.
It all started at 4 o’clock in the afternoon. One of the first people to arrive was our bishop and to our thanks for his coming he said: “I couldn’t have missed it!” Then father Gary and the Spanish nuns came, the Sisters of Charity and friends of the church… everyone together made up to around 250 people. The beginning of the feast was blessed by the Holy Mass led by our bishop, who reminded the arrival of the Eucharist in our house one year ago and was very happy to see many people there to live this moment of joy with us. During the homily, father Adrian underlined our differences in origin and how God bringing us to this country has united us and has put us together so we can love each other. The Nuncio, happy to be there, thanked all of us offering his availability if we ever need something. Before finishing we also thanked all who were there and also those who weren’t there for their friendship, above all that of our neighbours; their presence has been and is a gift for us to learn to live here. Going from there the bishop asked them: “Are they your friends?” “Yes!...” “…and they are here for you. Don’t look for money, because they don’t have it, they work like all of you. Become friends, become neighbours offering your help, your experience!” It’s really like this: we have who help us with the garden, with the flowers, with their own hands, with the Liberian English, with the providence of fruit, well, anyway we’ve created a bond of unity between us and them… and really without them we would be so poor.
After the Holy Mass, the feast continued with the evangelical representation: the blind man of Jerico and the miracle of the paralytic. Nevermind the fact that some of those there present laughed (maybe for ignorance), our “little actors” lived this moment very seriously: they had never done it this well. Straight after we did two songs with jests, “made in the U.S.A.”; everyone went with the rhythm and were involved in the dance while our dear bishop, seated in the front row, awed, filmed with his video camera. It all ended with a nice plate of rice Liberian style and a nice piece of fried chicken, cooked by our cook (Colu and two friends), who from 9 o’clock in the morning were on the go to prepare dinner for 200 people. Everyone was really happy!
We are happy about this first year of “Liberian life”, of many small but important steps made sometimes with sacrifice; we thank God and the Queen of Peace that we are here, and with their help and your prayers we want to give our lives!
A strong embrace in Christ, let Mary bless each one of you giving you all her smile and her peace.
All the brothers and sisters of Liberia