Buta (Agenzia Fides) - In a subsoil rich in diamonds and gold where no one is interested in the development of the country, the Comboni missionaries are not discouraged in promoting the Gospel. "If it weren't for the Gospel and the poor, we would happily stay at home", said Father Franco Laudani (mccj), 80, as he recounted the adventures and hardships of the journey from Kisangani to Buta ( 380 km), Prov. Bas-Uele DRC, where he went to open a new mission in the north of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The 80-year-old missionary arrived in recent weeks, accompanied by Father Léonard Ndjadi Ndjate, provincial superior, and Father Roberto Ardini, 79, to begin their apostolate. "We are full of confidence. This is truly a missionary area, in the style of Saint Daniel Comboni: among the poorest and most abandoned. But they seem so generous and happy to welcome us".
The 380 km journey took a total of three days, in the midst of unforeseen events, encounters, stops, vicissitudes, during which the missionaries never gave up.
"We tried to urge heaven to compassion with our prayers for help, Blessed Anwarite, the Patroness of our parish, Saint Daniel Comboni, the rosary in silence because we did not have the courage or the strength to say it aloud . And then, to see the suffering of these people, young people on motorcycles carrying a load of 300/400 kg, so much that from behind, before reaching them, you think you have a car in front of you and instead it is a motorcycle loaded like a van".
Buta has about 500,000 inhabitants, with many well-preserved buildings from the colonial era. There are only four parishes and in the whole diocese nine local priests and two parishes entrusted to religious, including the Comboni Missionaries.
"I am the only 'old white man' in town, says Father Franco, and probably the only old priest. In town, the economic level seems average to me, but beyond the Rubi, that is to say in our parish, there is absolute poverty: everything is exposed. This will help us form a "family" without secrets or discrimination. Two hundred meters from the chapel is our residence, a small house with four empty but clean rooms, surrounded by a fence of bamboo canes. There is no electricity, neither at home nor in town, no water, outside there is a (bucket) shower and a toilet. There are only three pews in the church, the church is dark, people are sitting on wooden planks and they are using a small battery with some lamps for lighting. Later we will see how to organize the main things to be developed". (AP) (Agenzia Fides, 20/10/2022)