20 December 2018 - "But Central African priests do not run away because they are not mercenaries". "Central Africa seems to have become entangled in an inextricable tangle of foreign interference, non-fulfillment of the international community and inability of the local government" writes to Agenzia Fides Fr. Federico Trinchero, a Carmelite missionary who works in the Carmelo of Bangui. "The confessional element only makes the cocktail even more deadly" the missionary underlines, recalling the massacre on November 15th in Alindao, in a displaced camp near the Cathedral (see Fides 17/11/2018). "The massacre occurred in front of the inertia of the UN contingent that has the mandate to protect civilians", denounces Fr. Federico. "Among the victims, in addition to women, children and elderly people, there are also two priests: Fr. Célestin and Fr. Blaise. The courage of the young Bishop of Alindao, His Exc. Mgr. Cyr-Nestor Yapaupa, prevented the toll from being even heavier. Instead of welcoming people, who wanted to find refuge inside the Cathedral, he ordered everyone to flee to the savannah. If the Christians had not obeyed him, the number of dead would have been even higher. The Bishop, however, and some priests decided to remain", emphasizes Fr. Federico.
"A few days after the events, we participated in a meeting of priests in Bangui. Fr. Donald is present, who had just arrived from Alindao. "For some weeks Fr. Donald had been sent to help the diocese of Alindao. Donald has not yet had time to learn how to be a priest; but he has already seen two of them die before his eyes".
"The students in front of me are the future priests of Central Africa", remarks Fr. Federico. "They saw the war and now they are in the Seminary of Bangui because they want to do the same job as Célestin and Blaise. I ask them if they still want to continue the journey undertaken and if they are aware of the high-risk mission that awaits them. Odilon answers for everyone: "I am scared, mon père. I am so scared. But I will not change my mind. I still want to become a priest. I would like to tell Donald that I am afraid too. But no desire to change jobs".
"This 2018, where five priests and dozens of Christians were killed during the celebrations or near their churches, gives us a Church that is still young and fragile, but does not run away from the enemy", concludes Fr. Federico. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 18/12/2018)