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June 21 2016 | BLANTYRE, MALAWI

The funeral of Elard Alumando at Blantyre. In his memory, the Community together prays for the resurrection of Africa

Many people from Malawi, from across Africa and Europe gathered at the liturgy celebrated by Mons. Vincenzo Paglia

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This morning it was celebrated in Blantyre the funeral of Elard Alumando, who died last 10 June in Johannesburg, following the aftermath of a serious road accident.

A people of 1,600 persons filled, since the early hours of the morning, the great Church of St. Louis de Montfort at the centre of Blantyre, to surround with a big hug Elard, the person responsible for the Communities of Sant'Egidio in Malawi and the National Director of the DREAM Programme.

A delegation of the Community of Rome, and of other Italian and European Communities were present, led by Cristina Marazzi, deputy president, and representatives of African communities from Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia presided over the celebration of the funeral attended by several priests and Malawian missionaries. In an atmosphere of recollection, emotion and prayer the Gospel of the Resurrection of Lazarus was proclaimed. During the homily the bishop Vincenzo said: "Jesus loved Lazarus and his sisters. He often stopped at their house in Bethany. Today Jesus stops with us here in Blantyre, Malawi, alongside Elard. We could compare him to Lazarus, the elder brother of the sister communities of Malawi, the brother that was at their origin and made them grow, and Jesus loved him as he loved Lazarus and his sisters and, just as he went at that time, so he has also come today, to console us". The words of Mons. Paglia have warmed the hearts of many and consoled many communities that came from all parts of Malawi to listen and welcome a word of hope and look to the future in the light of the Resurrection.

After the preaching, the Bishop concluded: "We too must rise again. We too must take off the bandages of resignation, the bandages of love for ourselves: we must free our hands, loosen our feet, loosen our tongue to walk in the villages of Malawi, Africa, in the outskirts of the world and liberate many abandoned children, many young people. So did Elard. And we all have to gather his legacy and continue with his enthusiasm to free many from sickness, poverty, abandonment, loneliness.
The resurrection of Malawi, Africa's resurrection unites us all, even with Elard. It is the dream that we all have and that Elard continues to have."

In the afternoon the bishop Vincenzo held a meeting with all the communities of Blantyre on the theme of eternal life and heaven.

His words were followed by many statements with testimonies, reflections and memories of Elard’s life and his love for Malawi and the Community.

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