Cotonou (Agenzia Fides) - After the apostolic visit of Pope Benedict XVI in Benin last November, one of the concrete answers to the special attention addressed by the Holy Father to the children, as the hope of the entire African continent, was the inauguration, on August 25, in Bembereké, Benin, of the first "mini-village of the Child", dedicated to St. Massimiliano M. Kolbe. It is a realization of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate present in the Country since 1991, which was the home of late Cardinal Bernardin Gantin. In just two decades after the creation of the Catholic national "Radio Immaculée Conception" and the monumental marian diocesan shrine "Notre Dame de la Divine Miséricorde" in Allada, it was the turn of socio-charitable work in the depressed and Islamized north of the Country, where there is also the novitiate of the Franciscans of the Immaculate in the Diocese of N'Dali.
After the ritual of the first profession of nine young people from Benin, Cameroon and Chad, the Bishop of N'Dali, Mgr. Martin Adjou, blessed the premises to accommodate up to fifty children and adolescents to ensure them a high quality integral human formation. "The compassion for the suffering and awareness of human and spiritual richness of Benin - stressed Fr. Alfonso M. A. Bruno, responsible for the missions - the Franciscans consecrate themselves to the corporal and spiritual works of mercy by being good Samaritans and sowers of hope and development. Africa, hurt but not killed, by the margin of a globalized world, can and must take its bed and walk, as stated in the admonition of Africae Munus inspired by the healing of the paralytic." The financing of the mini-village is also a laboratory of solidarity and creative pedagogy for Missionary Childhood, being the fruit of the work carried out for some years in Italy by children in favor of their peers who live in the poorest countries. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 29/08/2012)