LETTERS
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BOUAK╔
A Cry to God

Dearest Father Giussani, I wish to express to you my personal gratitude and that of the entire Association Saint Camille de Lellis which I represent for the opportunity we were given to participate in the Rimini '98 Meeting. My wonder was great at discovering this immense work that the Lord, through you, has brought forth in his Church. During those days I felt myself to be in profound communion with all the people I met. I particularly want to thank Dr. Marco Bertoli and our hostess Valeria, our guardian angel, for her ability to let me meet with numerous friends from all over the world, making me feel always part of the family. Every day I ask our sick friends to pray for you and for the Movement, these people who have no voice among men but are the ones most heard by God. I thank you in their name for this encounter which has given a voice to the voiceless, and I wish for you and all your friends a 1999 full of grace and blessings.

Ahongbonon Gregoire, Director of the Saint Camille de Lellis Association



SANTA F╔ DE BOGOT└
The Ray of Mercy

My dear and beloved Father Giussani, today I see the expansion of your presence in the faces of Patrizia, Cristina, Doris, and Father Carlo, who are the ray of the Lord's mercy for me. I would love to see your face. To stand in front of the Mystery and try to say "yes" is not at all easy, especially when the Mystery bears precise faces that are not images or ideas that someone has told you. When the Mystery is or begins to be daily, schemes and preconceptions fall away and the drama of man's life begins. I had never felt the joyous pain of conversion. Today, thanks to the company you have given me, I begin to look at my life without censuring anything, trying to live my self, what was given to me, what I am. I don't understand very much, and every time it is moving to see that the Lord loves me just as I am, with all the pettiness and all the denial of his Presence that I have committed in my life. The only thing I need in my life is for the Lord to overcome my resistance and for me to belong to him. Christ is the only one who saves me. I want to give myself to him, even if I don't know how. May God let me truly say "yes" this time.

Maria Victoria



PERUGIA
A New Beginning

I teach at an art school, and this year I had started out with a clear idea: I'm going to rest, I have just begun to breathe again after a rather rocky period. In November, as always, we do self-government, and a student asked me to hold an "open-theme" debate. We started talking about school parity, then soon passed to reason, heart, freedom. More than a debate, numerous questions emerged. At the end Erica asked me, "Prof, the things you have said are true and great, but what good do they do us if there is no place to live them?" The bell rang and everyone left. I have never felt such remorse for the preconception with which I had viewed my students until that moment. With the kids in Umbria we were preparing the Christmas study vacation. I took the flyer and printed 150 copies. The next day I went back to school and asked Erica to come talk to me. I proposed the vacation and twenty students signed up. They got immediately involved with such enthusiasm for the proposal that we adults watching them could not believe the grace and appeal that they represented for us. After our return home the friendship continued with everyone (from Todi, Terni, Gualdo). They asked me to set up also in Deruta what at that time was called School of Community. I told the school principal about the vacation and asked for a classroom to use in the afternoon. He said, "Certainly, we'll open the school, or rather, you can take the library that has a separate entrance." I told the kids about my talk with the principal, and Leonardo said, "If I have practice that day I'll skip ball, what I have encountered is too true." Erica instead said, "But the invitation has to be extended to the whole school, because the others don't know what we have encountered." Now we start.

Almerina



KAMPALA
You Are Among Us

Dear Friends, I am being helped a lot by the Christmas poster: "God comes to us in the things we know best and can verify most easily, the things of our daily life, apart from which we cannot understand ourselves." These words from the Letter of the Pope on Faith and Reason have become a program in my daily life. From the morning all along the various moments of the day, as far as distraction does not take me away from myself, this image keeps alive the self-awareness of what I am. It is so simple just because it is true. In fact every moment and circumstance is filled up with the presence of the Word who became flesh and dwells among us. He dwells in every instant of my human history, and in every instant of the human history of all peoples. He has become human companion of every man and woman. He is with me, always present to me more than even I myself am present to myself. I often forget myself, but he does not forget me even for a second. I am because he wills me to be and he loves me. It is simple and yet I find it so difficult. I forget that I am, that He is and persons and things around me are. Indeed I cannot any more doubt about all these things, but I forget continually and any effort on my part produces no good result. "You Lord, are among us. Every commitment, sacrifice and satisfaction derive from the awareness of this mysterious Presence. So every judgement on the humanity of the powers and human gatherings has as its aim the glory in time and space of the man Jesus of Nazareth." (Luigi Giussani, Opening day 1998) In order to possess the awareness of this mysterious presence, I see clearly that I have to start continually from where Christ has put me, from where he has encountered and touched my life. He is, He is present and therefore he changes my life through the piece of his body in which he has put me. I cannot change myself, because I am absent from myself, I am always away, outside me and I have no strength. Inside the reality of the Movement where by grace I find myself, Christ is the protagonist for me. I am strongly impressed how the School of Community and the various interventions of Fr. Giussani of latest are becoming ever more like the trumpets of the day of judgement that awake the dead. They make easy and real the task of living the awareness of the mysterious presence. I have the possibility of gazing to these texts, of looking to them, of meditating them or better of keeping them fixed in my memory. My natural laziness is continually overcome by the necessity of reading and explaining such texts to others, both in public and in private. As now I have the grace of living with Bro. Daniele Giusti in the same house, we take the chance for reading together every evening from the book of Giussani Vivendo nella carne. Daniele is often extremely tired by the amount of work and of worries, but he cannot leave aside this work that gives sense and meaning to all the other works. Also in the morning his presence renews the awareness of our belonging, when we meet, and when we pray the morning prayers together with the other members of the Comboni Community. I have and keep vivid in my memory the faces of all of you, asking to Mary to be your mother and companion in this wonderful human adventure to which the Lord is calling us.

Father Pietro Tiboni



Bishop of Amazonia

Last January 21st, Father Giuliano Frigeni was named Bishop of Parintins in Brazil. The following is the text of the telegram sent him to by Father Giussani
On hearing the news of your nomination as bishop we express our gratitude for this recognition by the Holy Father of your faith lived with intelligence and passion in the strength of the announcement of Christ the Lord.
We pray the Virgin that in this new task, which places you definitively in the apostolic succession, you will experience the profound tie of friendship with our experience as an ever-renewed source of true humanity for the glory of Christ in history, invoking your blessing.

In the name of all our friends
Father Giussani