Dear friends of the Mission,
We probably don’t know each other yet, but together we have something in common. Together we were very surprised to learn that one of our dear friends was seriously ill, from this illness that upset our daily life, our relationship with our families, our friends, with God. You have understood that I am talking about our dear Canon Fragelli, who has been hospitalized and affected by the severe form of Covid-19 since May.
Henrique and I met in September 2002, it was for the first retreat back to the seminary. He was the big brother of our year, and of the 7 young seminarians we were today we are the only 2 priests still in the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest. Together during our studies at the seminary we learned to love philosophy, theology... especially the good community moments, such as the harvest of olives, walks in the vineyards. Of course, each year ended with the ordinations, and from the taking of the cassock to the major orders, we were united in our progress towards the priesthood. I am still surprised today by the paths of Providence when I see the photos of our minor ordination, side by side in front of our bishop of Mouila more than 15 years ago!
As the canon Fragelli was almost double my age, the superiors decided that he could study more quickly and it was necessary to ordain 2008, a year before me. This was the first time that the Institute had ordained priests in the magnificent church of Florence, what a pride.
Henrique, as a good big brother, was able to give me a good example in her desire to save souls, and during the beautiful year of the centenary of Fatima we were finally able to realize the project of my visit to Mouila. What beautiful memories, the discovery of the mission, the Oblate community, the workshops, the school... and the famous Panthers of Chirst Roi! A beautiful oasis of beauty and joy in the dense forest of Mouila. Of course, I discovered this without ever thinking that I would have to go back in the conditions we know. Since then I have been able to return twice to Gabon... and I said after each trip when I returned to Madrid that the ministry of missionary priest had a special attraction because one lived his ministry in a great freedom, but that in spite of everything, I will never ask to go there. It is really necessary to be sent there and chosen by the Will of God to be able to face the dangers and to know how to resist the pitfalls of the devil and his own human weakness.
Several years ago, Henrique told me that I would have to inherit his chalice... today I understand that the chalice he speaks of is above all his mission and his apostolic work. The Priest must live in the image of his divine model: in the renunciation of his own will: Not my will but YOUR will. Our Priesthood brings us together in the concrete illustration of this ideal of holiness. In self-emptying.
Thank you for continuing to pray with him for the apostolic zeal of our mission.
Thank you for continuing to support the projects that the Canon has sown, and for praying that I may live up to the challenge that Providence has entrusted to me.
United in joy and hope for future good news, for the health of the Canon and for the mission!