News from the Brothers and Sisters in Bangui, Central African Republic

la Famille Dominicaine de Bangui

As at this morning, Sunday December 8, 2013. Brother Richard called several people in different parts of the city. They said that the night was quiet. After Morning Prayers, brothers Ilitch and Justin took a walk in the neighborhood. They meet a few people in the streets. They meet the French army that patrol in the city. The French soldiers ask them, if everything is okay. The brothers answer, "yes!" The military wants to know if there is any place where abuses or violence are taking place. The brothers returned home without any problem. They told us that they did not see any vehicle of the Seleka soldiers around.

Brother Richard went to celebrate Mass for the Sisters of Charity of Mother Theresa of Calcutta, about ten minutes walk from our community. There the sisters care for the elderly and orphans. The Mass went well and the brother came back to the community safe and sound. Meanwhile, brothers Ilitch and Justin went out again to a small market not very far from the community. They were able to buy cassava and some vegetable.

At 10:00 am, it was time for the community mass. Since my arrival in Bangui, I have been the chief celebrant every day. Our neighbors, the religious sisters are there, and a couple of the faithful who usually come for this Mass. Some of them expatriates, including Italians. After Mass, we shared news of the things happening around, each telling his or her story. The atmosphere is good despite the fear of abuses, attacks and the uncertainty about the future. The presence of each other is comforting and encouraging to all. That is the situation this morning in the community and in our neighborhood.

The city is still quiet. But people are talking of killings in some neighborhoods of Bangui. Two young people were killed last night not far from our community. Many displaced people are still in the churches and at the airport. They are afraid to return home for fear of reprisals and score-settling. Last night, the " tene- tene " ( rumors in the local language Sango here ) have driven some people from their homes to take refuge in safe places. A fellow parish priest in Bangui has informed us that the number of displaced people in his parish reached nine thousands (9,000) and there are only two toilets in his parish. At the Major Seminary of Bangui, the Rector speaks of more than four hundred displaced. People sleep outside. The situation is not yet back to normal. A three-day national mourning has been declared in the country, and the curfew in Bangui, from 6 pm to 6 am.

Tomorrow Monday, will people go back to work, and students to school? Nothing is sure. When will commercial flights resume in Bangui? Nobody knows. We remain hopeful. We continue to watch and pray in expectation of "THAT DAY ", the Day of the Lord, the Prince of Peace.

Fr.  Gabriel Samba, op
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(9 December 2013)