“For us, Baptism means the certainty of a new life,” said the Nigerian refugees, received by Pope Francis during the General Audience on Wednesday, August 30, 2017 in St. Peter’s Square, reported in Italian by L’Osservatore Romano.
They were part of 11 refugees of Nigeria who were baptized last August 16 in the church of Chiusi Scalo.
“We left our lands and we have experienced poverty and violence,” confided the newly baptized. “We survived a terrible crossing of the sea and Baptism means for us the certainty of a new life.”
Some among them, had already begun their journey of faith in Nigeria. Others were struck by the testimonies of volunteers of the parish of Saint Mary of Peace at Chiusi Scalo. “We wondered what incited these people to receive us without asking anything in return, and we saw that at the root of their way of life there was love of Christ and of the teachings of the Church,” explained the refugees.
The parish priest of the church, Father AntonioCanestri, did not hide the fact that they were experiencing “great difficulties of integration: it’s almost impossible to find regular employment for these boys; we can do nothing other than open the doors of our communities and share what we have,” he said.
“It’s important for the whole diocese that they were baptized by the Bishop of Montepulciano-Chiusi-Pienza, Monsignor Stefano Manetti, in the old Cathedral of Chiusi,” added the priest.
Translation by Virginia M. Forrester