Dieudonn© cardinal Nzapalainga: to be cardinal, for me it is a social promotion, neither a title of authority, nor a merit. It is an invitation to work by the reconciliation and La Paz in a country martyred by the war
Eminence, as she received the news of the appointment as cardinal of Bangui?
She was in Bossembel©, a town to 160 kilometers of Bangui for the taking of possession of a parish priest. After the Mass, I reunited to the faithfuls and I told them: the new parish priest and the priests who arrive are your children. You must accompany them, support them. You must be with them, always present and not leave them single. While he spoke to the faithfuls, my secretary came to tell me that there was a call for me. He gave the telephone to me saying: he is urgent. I told him that if there were an urgency, that it tried to solve it. And I continued directing me to the faithfuls with respect to the taking of possession of the new parish priest. The secretary returned and he told me: they want to speak with you by telephone, Monsignor. I responded, lets to him to me occupy to me of these believers. The secretary marched. But it returned one third time to tell me that it was the Nunciature that wanted to speak with me and is really very urgent. Therefore, I thought that if called to me with as much insistence, it had to respond. I took the telephone. He was the Secretary of the Nunciature to announce to me that the Pope finished to me making cardinal and who the Nunciature did not want that it informed me by other people. The Nunciature wanted to be first in giving this information me to avoid any rumor that could create doubts. Before this news, I was in silence, meditating this announcement in my heart. H was around the 13.00. After this, the news got to be well-known by all. It had been transmitted by one international radio. In the return of Bossembel© to Bangui, the people met throughout the highway to express their joy. To 12 km of Bangui, it was almost impossible to move. The car was taken quickly by the euphoric multitude. I took 4 hour and a half to cross the 12 kilometers until arriving at the SEO. People sang, shouted, applauded. It was as if the Glass of the world had gained. When arriving at the SEO, the multitude of the faithful ones was immense. My first reaction went to direct me to the Virgin Santsima. In fact, as espiritano, I remembered that the P. Libermann always indicated the way to us of Maria, the one that considers the humble servant, who had sufficient humility to accept the plan of God in her life. I took shelter in front of the Virgin Maria to trust to God my new mission. Soon I shelp to the faithfuls, I have here how God indicates its grace. Of a poor country, son of a poor man, the Gentleman who came to be united with our poverty pronounces himself today in this creation of a new cardinal.
What represents the fact of to be named cardinal?
For me, this is a social promotion, neither a title of authority, nor a merit. It is an invitation that the Gentleman gives not only but also to the Central African town. We are a poor country. The Pope came to visit this poor country. And later, he calls to a son of this poor country to help in the mission that Christ trusted to Pedro and its successors. This appointment is also an invitation to work by the reconciliation and La Paz in this martyred country. I believe that it is an invitation to the work with other religious confessions. The religion does not have to divide, but to unite. For that we must unite our hands to construct a lasting peace.
You are the very young cardinal, youngest of all the cardinals. And a day will be called to participate in the election of a Pope. How it sees this particular mission?
I believe that we must maintain the head on shoulders. And with much humility, I say that it is a call of Christ to serve to the Church. I do not have of which to gloriar to me. It is not necessary to boast by this. You know, Jesus called to men of different ages. It trusted the same mission to them. And each takes its stone for the construction, according to its abilities, their talent and its experience. I believe that the grace of God is pronounced to all and is the same Spirit the one that acts in the Church.
In the next days to the appointment for cardinal, it changed of activities, form of life?
No. I continued doing the same. Two days after the cardinal appointment, I went to a meeting with the Muslim community in district km 5 of Bangui, considered as a no-man's land. With a father, brother and some Christians, we were ourselves on foot. From far people it saw arrive and shelp us: I have here, the Christians. These people hoped to us. They rose and they welcomed, giving us the welcome to us. After some greetings, I proposed a march to them by La Paz. And we put all in way. During the long walk, as soon as we had made 50 meters, she put herself to follow a goat to us. We separated it a few times, but always she returned. Therefore, 4 km walked with us We arrived at the monument of Koudopukou, famous man who participated in II the World war. There, I took the word to direct me to all, to ask to some and others to avoid hatred. And the goat always was there. It resisted to that they drove away it throwing stones to him. It was scared, neither of the cars nor of people. Then, I told him to people, you see, the animal heard the invitation to La Paz and even walked by this peace. When there is war, until the animal they are threatened. You look at this goat that walked with us 4 km without being scared, because it also aspires to La Paz. One refuses to live in the insecurity and walks with the human beings. It is a miracle, a sign. It is the moment of everyone for burying the axe military and for putting to us in movement by La Paz in the country.
A second miracle took place. During the march, I requested a meeting with the young people who some call of jihadist. They were seated in a corner of the street, with its arsenal military, grenades, rifles, you shoot with an arrow, knives, machetes¦ I went to find me with them. I put myself in the middle of them. I appeared. I explained to them why it wished that each respected the life of the other. I made them understand that I must respect to all the men, because all we are created to image of God. I asked to them to preserve the life of which they find, because sometimes we listened that they kill people with the pretext of which they are not of theirs. After some minutes of conversation, asked to me that it gave a time to meet them. Dejaronme in the middle of their arms and moved away. Soon they returned again towards me with a young person and they told me: Monsignor, we catched this young person because he is a traitor. We had decided to kill it and we hoped a day to finish with him. But, since you asked to us to preserve the life, she takes. My attitude allowed to release a man and to save a life that one day. For me, this is a miracle. You can interrogate to that they made the march with me, they are witnesses. They will tell them that day a goat marched with us by La Paz, and in addition, a young man was released by the jihadist ones.
What was of the visit from the Pope to the Central African Republic?
Ever since the Pope announced the visit to the Central African Republic, we mobilized the Christians, catholics and protestants, to receive the Messenger of La Paz. For us, the Pope is a messenger who came to invite us to all the Central Africans to construct La Paz. And at the time of its visit we saw ministers crying. They were touched by the message of the Pope. As far as the security, everybody shelp that the Pope was dangerous to go to the Central African Republic. Miraculously, when it arrived the arms were silent. There was a species of truce. In order to do this possible one, we campaigned of sensitization along with all with the purpose of to silence the arms and to welcome in the Messenger of God. During the visit the Pope went to the politicians and who hold the power. He asked to them that they thought first about the people who suffer because of the political divergences. The Pope appealed to the motto of the country: unit, dignity, work to invite to cause that this motto is a reality. It was with the young victims of the war, orphans, patients, undernourished, hurt¦ took in arms to comfort them them. Also it went to the campings of refugees. There the children received it. Many raised posters with messages we want peace, we want to live with dignity. Everybody was affected. The Pope went to km 5, Muslim district. He greeted to several with word and handshake of peace. He was received with joy. And at the time of their exit of this district all followed to him. He was very exciting. It opened to the door Santa in the SEO of Bangui. For us it was a signal that God visited to us and invited to us to La Paz. The visit of santo Padre was a blessing for us, because it happened at the moment when the Church celebrated the year of the mercy. The Pope invited to Pastor protestant to accompany it in the popemobile. They gave the return saluting to the multitude. Many understood that the Pope does not make differences between the men. Since then we felt more some of others close. It is a sign that demonstrates that the problem is not the religion. Many Central Africans understood that they do not have to let itself manipulate. The climate calmed down. The Central Africans return to coexist.
Interviewed person by Baba Gaston Temgoua