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Academic Year 2016

Cari Amici e sostenitori
Con la grazia del Signore, ieri lunedì 11 gennaio 2016, la nostra scuola Peace Adults School della City of God, che si trova al centro della famosa baraccopoli nota con il nome di Sodoma e Gomorra, ha aperto, dopo le Feste di Natalizie, l'anno accademico 2016. Padre Subash, il direttore del centro, ha tenuto il discorso augurale, arricchendolo con delle semplici ma indispensabili regole etico - morali, comportamentali e spirituali. Gli allievi appartengono a varie tribù del Ghana e anche dell'estero, in prevalenza sono di religione musulmana, ma il servizio d'Amore è ecumenico. Le lezioni iniziano alle 19:30 e terminano alle 21:30. Al mattino c'è un corso speciale per i bambini che non vanno a scuola, quindi il maestro li prepara per essere iscritti al prossimo anno scolastico. Il pomeriggio, dalle 14:00 alle 17:00 c'è il corso di taglio e cucito. Due volte alla settimana ci sarà un corso per imparare ad usare il computer (S.E. il Nunzio, ha donato 5 nuovi computer), esclusivamente per quegli allievi che sono avanti con gli studi, cioè che abbiano imparato bene l'inglese, matematica e cultura generale.
Il missionario laico Claudio Turina, ha assistito con gioia alla cerimonia come fedele sostenitore della Città di Dio (autore dell'omonimo libro che narra del progetto, pubblicato da Clony editing - Venezia 2015 e ad Accra da Wrenco Limited 2015; i diritti d'autore sono interamente finalizzati al progetto Città di Dio)
Con Amore e preghiera,
salutano e ringraziano

P. Subah Chittilappilly e Claudio Turina

Photos 4 december 2015

04 December 2015


Salone del Libro 14 - 18 Maggio 2015

Presente al SALONE DEL LIBRO - Torino


Volantino def-1Volantino def-1

Speech for presentations of my book City of God, Wednesday 11, march, 2013, 5 p.m. at Christ the King Parish Church, Accra.

     Good evening to all of you. I ask you pardon for my wrong and poor English, I have written only one page, and I will read it.

Jesus called us fiends, and He authorizes us to call our neighbour friends. Excellencies, and you my brothers and sisters in Christ, I thank you for having come so many, but it is clear that we are here not for my simple book, but for the place that I love so much, City of God, known as Sodom and Gomorrah area in Agbgbloshie, just bordering with the heart of Accra: Jamestown. But we are also here thanks to Fr. Arcadio who funded City of God and lived there for 12 years in the same uneasiness way like all the others residents. I thank you dear archbishop Charles Palmer-Buckle for your preface and you dear reverend Fr. Andrew Campbell for your introduction and a big thanks to the sponsor of the book.

This is my forth time that I come to share life with Fr. Subash and the people of the City of God. Was November 2013 when Fr. Subash invited me to write a book about the project City of God, for me was like an invitations to a wedding. Prayer, Charity, read and to write are mine favoured occupations. I started to write this book straight there in the school near the students, with candles when disappeared electricity, but also outside because of air. Computer has become my best company, after Jesus Christ. Well, now book is ready, I did what I could do for the peoples who reside in Sodom and Gomorrah, Biblical name that we must begin to change in to City of God. Of course I invite you to do a big effort to donate the more that you can for this beautiful project, to buy al lot of books and donate to your friends, but also to be generous during the auction, because without receiving help, Fr. Subash cannot help who is in need. The City of God is not of Fr. Subash or mine, belongs to everybody, and the reason of the terrible pollutions depends, we now very well, of foreigners country, who are sending here their industrials and technological wastes, developing that immense toxic dump. Fr. Subash lives of charity, he is unite and the same thing with City of God, he needs money, not only, and he needs volunteers like a teacher, medical doctors, and nurses.

Tailoring school is sponsored by Theresians International Association. We must a big thanks to TRE.CA.SMA Association of Trento, Italy, for having paid the restoration of City of God “Peace Adult School”. The copyright of this book is in favour of City of God project, responsible is Fr. Subash Chittilappilly. Of course, in Italy will be my duty and right to administrate it. So, we are all called, as our dear and generous Fr. Campbell remember the motto that blessed Mother Teresa’s of Calcutta used to repeat everywhere she went, : “Do something beautiful for God”. I can confirm that it is true, because I heard her many time to say this to the people: “Do something beautiful for God”. During this special period of Lent, we are all invited to do what God wants from us: to be generous as He is generous. Our God, we know very well, He gave us his only son Jesus, and Jesus Christ donate himself every day to us, asking to be generous as he is, if we think to be Christians.

So, Thank you dear Excellencies end friends, the book is written for reading, not for admiring, please read it for understanding better the problems and the project City of God. Thank you a lot from the profound of my heart. Thank you dear friends.


Claudio Turina  


On Earth as it is in Heaven

The Koinonia and mystique of the slum

As we let ourselves be guided through the pages of this

book, it is as if we are being led by hand by its author, who

walks with us in the slum across the magic of the Unknown.

Poverty and wealth are inescapably entwined to the point that

we lose all certainty and sense of proportion. Who is richer –

those who are given everything and have no need of anyone or

anything, or those who are so dependent on others that they

could not survive without help? Is it those who think they can

manage on their own or those who are aware they couldn’t get

by without others?

What hits you on entering the slum (known in Accra as

‘Sodom and Gomorrah’) is the filth, the deafening noise, the

devastating stink, the unmanageable confusion of endless

labour and the feeling of unease that everything seems coated in

the most abysmal poverty. The first impulse on entering the

slum is to turn our backs as soon as we can and return to the

order and hygiene we know. When it dawns on us that there are

no toilets and no running water, no kitchens because they can’t

be fitted with electricity or gas, and yet thousands of people live

here – a question starts to form in our minds. And not to

mention the roads! If you arrive on a rainy day, the flooding and

mud seeps everywhere. There’s no point trying to walk where

it’s dry; you might as well just take off your shoes and go

barefoot like everyone else.

There is a passage in the book where the protagonists

return to their slum equipped with gumboots, and we

immediately sense their distance. They no longer feel the earth

underfoot. For those who leave the slum, there is no going back;

they will never be the same again. Others came from the


country in search of Eldorado, the city of gold, and settled in

the slum, as if in a dream, to seek their fortune. Our heroes find

their fortune and manage to escape the slum, but at a cost. The

slum itself abandons them – the whole world of the slum, its

infinite world of endless human riches. All the money that they

can throw at the misery of the slum can never match the bounty

of its koinonia, that intimate communion that makes brothers of

us all. The Unknown One’s message falls on deaf hearts: the

Unknown is part of the magic of the slum and won’t appear to

those conspiring to betray it, who think themselves too well

dressed to walk barefoot on its dirty, wet ground. That question

grows and takes shape in our minds.

They say that in Jerusalem a small door remained open

when larger ones close for the night. If you arrived in the city

late, you could always get in through this small, welcoming

door. It was so small compared to the other doors that it became

known as the ‘eye of the needle’. When it was open you could

go through it, but not without effort. The rich merchant had to

make his camel, laden with goods, pass through it, and it wasn’t

easy. The more goods on the camel, the harder it was to get it

through the ‘eye of the needle’. If it really could not get

through, the merchant had to take off all the wares and push the

camel’s head down so that it could cross the little threshold. It

was impossible for all those riches to come into the city without

an act of humility. Perhaps Jesus had this story in mind when he

cautioned the rich people and taught them that the only way

they could enter the kingdom of heaven was to similarly strip

themselves of all worldly goods.

That question has now crystallised: if thousands of

people manage to survive in the slum, they must have

something we don’t, something that allows them to manage,

which we still do not know about, a treasure more precious than

gold, which that can’t be bought. This is the tale told by

Claudio Turina, a tale he tells because he has lived it, has come


to understand it in his work as a missionary and, earlier, on

embracing Christianity. We can either wear gumboots or take

off our shoes; we can either enter into the slum or just walk

through it; we can either pass through the ‘eye of the needle’ or

be barred because our load is too great. Claudio attempted to

take off his shoes and truly enter the heart of the slum. He was

able to do it because Mother Theresa showed him how. He was

able to tell us about it because he had already experimented

with the idea at other times in his life, as a lay missionary

pilgrim of the world.

So we, too, come into the slum barefoot and try to

unveil its hidden secrets: the dirt is an inexhaustible mine of

small treasures ready to be recycled and exchanged for other

useful goods; the deafening noise is a mix of hypnotising music

and cries of joy containing an irrepressible urge to

communicate; the stink is comingled with the aroma of flavours

evaporating from huge pots, of spices and of wood burning on

the roadside conjuring up meals in the open; the confusion is an

expression of the industriousness of people who must use all

their ingenuity to achieve the smallest necessity, the most

everyday gain; and poverty, which had seemed to coat

everything, suddenly takes on a natural essentiality.

It could not be otherwise: the shacks amassed in an allenveloping

embrace have no room for the extraneous; the

variety of the materials stacked together to build them creates a

unique style made up of infinite colours, glowing under the

light of the sun or reflecting the iridescent magic of a thousand

night-time fires.

The secret of the Unknown begins to reveal itself: the

slum is not the Eldorado we all expected; it does not offer the

gold everyone has desperately been seeking – but riches,

manifold and incalculable, which comprise koinonia, that

sharing of love and worldly goods that underlies the Christian

experience. Life in the slum thus becomes an inexplicably


natural mystical experience – the fruit not of theological or

spiritual research but of the spontaneous perception of the

essence of things. The spectre of Eldorado in the end turns out

to be the spirit of God; what should have been the city of gold

turns out as if by magic to be the city of God.

This is Claudio Turina’s inner journey: from the city of

men to the City of God. City of God is not only a book; it has

become a project, a website, a life trajectory. Claudio has

written many fine and interesting books, engaging memoirs and

moving poetry. But none has so far affected us with such

invasive human and spiritual energy – so much so as to become

its own creature, walking on its own two legs towards a future

to and transcending its creator.

This is the spirit of the slum, its mystique and its

koinonia, and Claudio has been able to interpret them.

Prof. Daniele Spero

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