Jesus lives in a beautiful and clean house
by Fr. Gino Sanavio, SMA from the Italian Province
who works in Ivory Coast, shares with us this story.
Adzopé: The consecration of the village’s church, a historic and ecclesiastical event of great importance, for the recovered lepers.
Many people attended Bishop Alexis Touably Youlo’s ceremony. Ten concelebrants were present, with authorities and elders of the village, and patients from the Raul Follereau leprosy hospital. The procession with songs and dance had arrived at the front door of the new church, which was adorned for the festivity.
“Open eternal doors, to enter the King of Glory!” with these words the doors of the temple were opened for the first time. The Bishop and the joyful procession crossed the threshold of the new church. The faithful followed the liturgy with admirable patience and true interest. The ceremony lasted three and a half hours. The town choir accompanied by the tam-tam drums, sang during the blessing, the incensing and the anointing of the altar and the twelve crosses on the church walls.
The Bishop in his homily explained the value of the consecration of the material temple as well as the spiritual and human temple formed by the Catechumens and the Christians who were present.
- “Now Jesus has a house in the village. He is one of us. We know where he lives; he is our brother. We know where to find him every day.”
- “Jesus lives in a beautiful and clean house. If you look for him, be beautiful and clean within your hearts.”
- “Remember, the house where God and Jesus prefer to live, is in the hearts of men and women. Love your brothers and sisters and you will love God who lives within you.” The satisfaction and compliments for the beautiful work done were unanimous.
The church built in a Latin cross shape is 30 meters long by 18. It was completed in 12 months. The altar, made from a large Iroko tree from the forest, is carved with scenes from the traditional local life.
The concluding words of Fr. Francesco Arnolfo remembered the foundation of the SMA on December 8th, 1856 as well as the thirtieth anniversary of the celebration of his first Mass. He also thanked God and all the people who helped, including the many volunteers and the parish council that worked for the event with humble collaboration.
P. Gino Sanavio