Father Moses shows the chalice pierced by a bullet during the May 2014 attack on the parish.
The sacristan from Our Lady of Fatima Church shows Father Ruffino Ezama (left) and Father Shane Degblor (center) the remains of his home near the church. “When the attack started, I had only enough time to get my vestments and church things out of the house before it was destroyed,” he said.
Father Ruffino Ezama with the staff of a medical clinic that provides free care for expectant mothers and young children. The example of the Comboni Missionaries has inspired many talented young people to stay in Bangui and work to improve conditions.
All that remains of neighborhood houses are walls damaged by bullets and grenades, and mounds of rubble. “Even those houses that still had their roofs [after the attack] were later destroyed by those who were stripping of the metal to sell.” One wall bears a hopeful inscription in French, “The fall of man is not the end of life. Just try, and you will see happiness.”
The churchyard is packed once again, this time with thousands gathered to celebrate a double ordination.
Father Ruffino Ezama, from the North American Province, stands with Father Moses at an iron gate pierced by gunfire in the May 2014 attack.
The church has an area for outdoor Masses. During the siege, Father Moses says, every seat was a bed for several people. At night, “There were people sleeping on the seats, between the seats, even on the outdoor altar—anywhere there was a space. You could not walk across the yard without stepping on someone.”