Souvenirs from Recife
I was invited to participate to Dom Helder Camara theological
meetings by the association "Igrejor nova".
In the plane to Sao Paolo I am very happy to find back Brazil
and its nice people. On the way we can see the strait of Gibraltar,
so many young Morocco cross it at their life stake!
We fly over Mauritania. I think about those illegal immigrants
from Mauritania who are in Paris while my young neighbors are
fascinated by the video games. After eleven hours of flight,
I discover this enormous city of Sao Paolo, illuminated in the
night. When the plane landed, the passengers applauded.
I took another flight to Recife. It was midnight when we arrived
in this city of 3 millions inhabitants, they suffered a lot from
floods, mostly in the poorer parts of the city.
A delegation of "Igrejor nova" is there, waiting
to welcome me, to enjoy and above all to take me to the Franciscan
convent where I am to sleep.
Transfiguration Sunday is very busy. In a favella seven baptisms
have to take place. The celebration conducted by a Franciscan
is simple and full of dignity, for the families it is a big event:
they understand and react with their heart. Every body feels
loved by God. Then I participated to four Masses and I also preached.
I was happy to preside at the mass in the Dom Helder's church,
to visit his little house by the church where he lived and died.
At the cathedral I meditate on his tomb where a dove of Peace
is the only comment.
My talk was about "The oppositions encounter on my way"
I should speak about myself in order they could compare their
experience to mine and think about their history from my testimony.
After Dom Helder's resignation, Rome nominated the seat of Recife
to a Bishop who was the complete opposite to him. It was a hard
time for many Christians.
What has happened to them, having suffered by the Church, having
to face many obstacles, having been rejected?
That evening, during a wonderful meeting, I saw Christians made
stronger by adversity and become mature by the difficulties with
a heart full of tenderness. Christians who keep hope. Hope that
goes beyond distress and protects you of being overwhelmed.
Who knows about this little village of Montguyon in Charente
Maritime? A festival for Peace and Fraternity is taking place
with 700 artists from Haiti, Palestine, Russia, Mexico, Canada
I was invited to preside over that meeting for peace. I was astonished
to see this little village welcoming young ones from all over
Ordinary citizens without responsibility brought Peace. It was
enforced by all these links uniting the people, by the friendship
being established over the boundaries, by the cultures being
made closer to each other. All conducted as a feast.
At Montguyon we were aware to be citizen of the world, acting
At the Administration Court
A young Morocco couple are in turmoil. The husband has received
from the Immigrant office a summon to go back to his country.
He made an appeal to the Administration Court.
At 9 o'clock we met in the Court. I stay close to them because
they are very anxious, more so the lawyer is not there and the
President of the Court starts the session.
Every one is sad in this room, including the President.
The lawyer arrives in a hurry, putting her robe on. It is our
The President accepts that I speak. I felt suddenly like being
a lawyer and I finished with these words" Sir, if I had
any power, without hesitation, I would give this young man his
waiving permit". What a surprise for the President!
At the end of her counsel speech, the lawyer tells me in private
"we will not win this case, our appeal was not presented
I left the Court disappointed. The Court should let its judgement
to be known at 12 o'clock. I ask the young couple to let me know
by ringing my mobile phone.
At 12.15, a call:" It is over, we have won. We are going
to make a feast, we invite you to the restaurant"
The couscous was delicious but the lawyer was not invited!