AFRICA/ETHIOPIA - Birth of a new Catholic community in Kokossa: catechumens - of the poorest of the poor

Friday, 24 June 2016 evangelization  


Kokossa (Agenzia Fides) – On Sunday, June 19, Solemnity of Pentecost according to the liturgical calendar of the Ethiopian Church, a new Catholic Christian community was born in Kokossa, in Ethiopia, in the Oromia region. This is what Emeritus Bishop of Padua, Mgr. Antonio Mattiazzo, missionary in Ethiopia (see Fides 19/10/2015) told Agenzia Fides. "The first proclamation of the Gospel in Kokossa took place thanks to Father Angelo Antolini, current Apostolic Prefect of Robe, when he was pastor in Kofele. His work was continued by Father Bernardo Coccia. I arrived in September 2015, helped by a catechist from Kofele and by Capuchin brother Matthew", says Fr. Mattiazzo.
"After trying to get to know the condition of each person who attended prayer meetings and catechesis, we admitted those who meet the necessary requirements for the catechumenate and others for the pre-catechumenate. Catechumens and pre-catechumens were from the poorest of the poor from an economic point of view. Some did not even have the money to buy a pair of sandals and went barefoot to meetings, even with the cold and the rain. We thus initiated a form of micro-credit and, among other initiatives, we gave shoes to those who walked barefoot. The announcement of the Gospel always goes together with charity and human promotion".
"We had a little inhabitable house - continues the Bishop -. We thought of making it habitable, and in the meantime, while work is being done, we have placed a large tent, in the free space available, partly because the larger room of the cottage was insufficient to welcome catechumens and pre-catechumens".
"The solemnity of Pentecost, and the celebration of the sacraments are prepared with a kind of Triduum, on Fridays and Saturdays in particular, with prayer and catechesis. On Saturday morning I celebrated three rites: the effata ritual, exorcism and admission to the Catholic Church of people from other Christian denominations. The Friday and Saturday meetings were attended by many members of the pastoral council of Kofele, and Christian communities of Gode, Denda, Cacia, belonging to the parish in Kofele, who stayed in Kokossa. They themselves were able to see how a Christian community is born, making a commitment to continue to support the newly-established community and to carry out a task of evangelization. For some of them, in fact, I have given a 'missionary mandate'. If from Countries of ancient Christianity missionaries no longer come, we propose to form lay people to be missionary disciples, as hoped for and asked by Pope Francis". "The Catholic Christian community is now made up of 36 people; a small seed that needs to be strengthened with the mystagogy to grow, bear fruit and expand", concluded Mgr. Mattiazzo. (AP/AM) (Agenzia Fides 24/06/2016)