Luanda (Agenzia Fides) - "Because of the pandemic, we have postponed baptisms and first communions which we normally celebrate at Easter. Now, due to the spread of the coronavirus in the country, nobody knows when our catechumens will be able to celebrate baptism or approach the Lord's table: we invite the faithful to pray at home and to make this period an opportunity to meditate the word of God". This is what Father Angelo Besenzoni, missionary of the Society for African Missions (SMA) says to Agenzia Fides, underlining the fact that today, despite the social distancing that this pandemic imposes, the Church remains ideally "open and close to the faithful": "Not all the faithful have television - notes Father Angelo - and very few have electricity, but they all have a radio, and this allows them to be in communion with the family of believers who pray and welcome the blessing of our Lord in this difficult time of social distancing and deprivation".
In Angola the effects of the quarantine imposed by the government are felt and aggravate the economic situation of many families: "Here there is no water - Father Angelo remarks - you either have a cistern or you buy water at retail . Women, who with their small businesses support the family budget, are now unable to go out and cannot sell their products. Farmers who have fields away from home cannot go, resulting in loss of crops. Children and young people are not used to studying at home and, in many cases, they do not have the conditions and tools".
In this time of suffering, the Church embraces her children: "Since the beginning of the quarantine - says the priest - I was able to take advantage of the outings allowed to visit the elderly and families in difficulty, to bring them comfort, to distribute basic necessities and offer consolation for the most difficult situations".
Father Besenzoni arrived for the first time in Angola in 2008 and, after having contributed to founding the parish of "Santa Isabel" on the outskirts of Luanda, he currently works in the new formation house of the SMA, in the town of Musseque Kikoka, about 40 kilometers from the capital. "Here - says the religious - in addition to a mission animation center, young people who have already started a vocational journey and are preparing for the community, academic and spiritual life of the Seminary, live a year of preparation for the seminary. There are currently seven".
Furthermore, two years ago, a pastoral center was set up and on December 28, 2019 a new parish dedicated to the "Holy Family" was inaugurated: "Thanks to the donations and participation of the local community, that collaborated with offers and work - reports the missionary - it was possible to buy land and build buildings to house believers. For the inhabitants of the area it was a great joy to have a point of reference and meeting - he underlines - which set in motion interest, commitment, involvement in the desire to live the faith, to celebrate it, to witness it in life and to communicate it to others".
The name of the parish, "Holy Family" - explains Fr. Besenzoni - originates from the devotion that the founder of the SMA, Mgr. De Brésillac, had for the family of Nazareth, especially considering the flight to Egypt, the first missionary journey of Jesus to Africa. "We would like - he concludes - that this name also helps us to grow as a family, loving and serving God in the little daily things we do and live a true spirit of brotherhood among us, even and especially in times of pandemic". (ES) (Agenzia Fides, 27/4/2020)