Youth apostolate is a major priority of the Archdiocese of Addis Ababa in Ethiopia. The challenges facing young people in Ethiopia are immense: many face a future of poverty and unemployment and can only dream of fleeing the countryside for the capital, or even leaving the country altogether for Europe.
“You are the hope of this 2000-year-old Church of ours: being young in faith, you must be like the first Christians and radiate enthusiasm and courage…You will also be a leaven of missionary spirit for the older Churches.” Saint John Paul II
In Africa, the number of Catholics is growing faster than the Muslim population. The Catholic Church is also growing at a faster rate than other Christian denominations: since 1980 Africa’s Catholic population has more than tripled to 200 million. But, above all, the growth and enthusiasm of the faith in Africa is a beacon of hope for the continent and the world at large.
Mali is a landlocked country in West Africa with an overwhelmingly Muslim population. Christians, Muslims and followers of traditional African religions there lived together peaceably, as they had for centuries, until 2012, when war broke out in the northern part of the country, much of which lies within the Sahara Desert region.
The people of the Gumuz tribe live in western Ethiopia, close to the border with Sudan. Until just a few years ago, they were a mainly nomadic people, but in the late 19th century and well into the 20th century, many of the Gumuz people fell victim to Arab slave traders from Sudan.
The terror of Boko Haram lives not only in Nigeria, but in the northern part of Cameroon, too. While organized armed attacks by Boko Haram have decreased in the face of a united military offensive by several African countries, there continue to be suicide bombings, murders and abductions in the affected areas. Many people are still living in fear. The Catholic Diocese of Maroua-Mokolo in the Far North Region of Cameroon must contend with this reality.
The Institute for Philosophy and Theology run by the Capuchin Fathers in Addis Abeba is the only Catholic higher educational institution in central and southern Ethiopia. All the dioceses and all the religious communities in this country of Eastern Africa send their seminarians for their studies there.