Calavì (Agenzia Fides) - "At the beginning of January 2022, I moved to Calavì, Benin, to the 'Brésillac' Center where the seminarians of the Society for African Missions attend the International Year of Spirituality (Novitiate), between the two o three years of philosophy and three or four years of theology". Thus, Father Giovanni Benetti recounts the experience that he is living among the young seminarians of the Calavì Center, on the outskirts of the large city of Cotonou, in the south of the country.
"I find myself in the midst of many young people who, together with the formation parents and the friends of the Center, nurture an atmosphere of fraternity and simplicity", writes the missionary.
Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Togo, Ivory Coast, Angola, Liberia, Zambia, DR Congo, Benin, India, are the countries of origin of the 37 seminarians currently present in the 'Brésillac' Center in Calavi. There are 5 SMA formator priests, of whom 1 is from India, 2 from Nigeria, 1 from Poland and 1 from Italy.
"I am involved" continues Father Benetti "in their spiritual accompaniment, in the preparation of some retreats and formation courses, and in the participation in the various meetings planned for the formators. Depending on the time I have available, I also try to offer my pastoral service, especially on Sundays, in some neighboring parishes. The work is not lacking and requires a great sense of responsibility, since the vocation is at stake and, therefore, the lives of the seminarians, future missionaries of the SMA, who expect an authentic Christian witness from me and from the other fathers. This requires humility which allows the formators to share the problems and immerse themselves in the personal story of these young people on their way towards the priesthood and missionary commitment without borders".
"Of course, here as everywhere, not everything is rosy. The water, for example, is not drinkable, so it must be filtered or boiled. Unlike Nairobi, where I have been since 2021, Calavì's tropical climate is harsh and Anopheles mosquitoes are very present and active; you try to fight them with mosquito nets and repellents. However, I dare to say it bluntly: the Mission is an adventure worth living because it helps to grasp what is essential in life and to relativize what risks becoming absolute. I ask the Lord to help me be a reflection of his love, here and wherever the breath of his Spirit takes me. My desire is, above all, to share with simplicity the precious gift that I have received from Him: faith, which gives flavor, serenity and meaning to life". (GB) (Agenzia Fides, 17/3/2023)