Support Pastoral Outreach to the People of Ethiopia
The Holy Cross Parish is located in the village of Dhadim, in a remote and underdeveloped region of southern Ethiopia. Its people are members of the Borana tribe, who were until very recently nomadic. Though some of them continue to migrate with their herds of cattle, more and more have chosen to settle.
At present, 5,000 of the parish’s 9,000 people are Catholics, but general increase in receiving the sacraments has increased. The parish is very active, with catechetical classes and Bible study circles, as well as a growing vocations apostolate. Two girls have expressed an interest in becoming religious Sisters, and five boys are considering the priesthood. And close to 250 young people are regularly involved in the parish. Thanks to the aid supplied by ACN, dozens of them take part in an annual three-day pastoral program in another diocese. Father Kenneth Iwunna, the parish priest and a missionary to Ethiopia from Nigeria, reports: “Most of them have never been anywhere except their own village.”
Through ACN, the parish has also established a program for married couples who have adopted the Christian faith. Some of these newly baptized adults were not married in the church and are unable to receive Holy Communion or afford a wedding. To resolve this problem, the parish organizes multiple joint ceremonies, providing everything couples need for the celebration. “It is a great relief for these couples to be finally married in the church and receive Holy Communion,” Father Kenneth tells us.
The involvement of the Church has tangibly changed the lives of the Borana people. In the past, there have been feuds between various local tribes, but the reconciliation work done by the Church has helped to foster calm. The Church has also improved women’s prospects: the women of the Borana once had no voice and were not permitted to do anything outside the home. But now, more girls are attending school, and some women have become catechists as well.
Once again, ACN has offered to support the parish’s work with $5,500, as we did last year. This help will be used for the formation of catechists, youth meetings, and wedding ceremonies, as well as retreat days and other pastoral activities.
Will you support ongoing pastoral outreach among the Borana people of Ethiopia?
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