Liberia - Making sharing of happiness possible

29 June 2017

(ANS - Monrovia) - Fr Nicola Ciarapica has been a missionary for over 25 years in West Africa, between Nigeria and Liberia, where he also faced the Ebola crisis. This is his story.

My missionary vocation is a consequence and development of my Sale-sian and priestly vocation. The testimonies of missionaries I came across in person or through my readings in the time of my adolescence were truly provocative ‘voices’. They made me understand the vastness of the boundaries of the Church. They made me realize the identity of the Church as ‘yeast’ in the World. The launch of Project Africa became my opportunity to concretize it.


One of my motivations was to make it possible to share with others the happiness that comes from living with the dignity of the Sons of God. He is our Father (Dignity that encompasses and gives meaning to all human rights). I remember what it cost me to move from Italy to sub-Saharan Africa at the age of 40, the difficulty of communicating, relating with people from a totally different world.

The language problem was bad enough .... how much more difficult it was to understand and accept the new ways of looking at life and death. I had to adjust to a new society with the important roles of the elderly, the adults and the youth. I need-ed to find ways and systems to collaborate with all of them for the educa-tion of the next generation. ... I had to accept myself as an ignorant man who had a lot to learn yet. ... I had to be patient with myself and give myself sufficient time to understand what to do and how to do it.

This, however, helped me understand that what the mission needed from me the most was not so much what I could do but the love I could put into relationships. I ought to thank the Lord for filling my missionary life with so many joys. Looking back at all my experiences in my 68 years, I must say that I never could have planned hoped for what my Missionary vocation has given me. I never imag-ined I could reach such vast horizons, that I could share my life with so many peoples and cultures. Only my missionary call could have made it possible for me to exercise my priestly ministry in so diverse environments and cultures.

The mission I worked in has given me yet another joy. This is like the happiness of parents when they see their children succeed in life; and the satisfaction from seeing them live by the values they received The Salesian Province of Adriatica – my province of origin sent me to open the mission at Onitsha. I worked there my first 22 years. This mission has already produced 40 Salesians, two of whom offered themselves to the Rector Major for the “Mission ad Gentes". Onitsha has the first organized group in Nigeria of Don Bosco Alumni. Out of Onitsha has come the first African volunteer for Don Bosco ...

The missionary lives with the certainty of what the Lord has told us: "I am with you always ...". He is aware of the call to collaborate with Him who wants to be the life, the soul and the joy of the world. The missionary vocation is to make Him Emmanuel: "the God with us".



ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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