AFRICA/ETHIOPIA - Testimony of a fidei donum missionary: "One can learn and receive so much from missio ad gentes"

Tuesday, 9 May 2017


Adaba (Agenzia Fides) - "This is my house, rather my two parish houses: the first one in Adaba, where I live, the other in Dodola, where I go during the week and on Sunday", says to Fides Don Giuseppe Ghirelli, a fidei donum missionary in Ethiopia (see Fides 11/12/2014). "The house in Adaba is quite big and was inhabited in the past by an Ethiopian priest when it was still part of the vicarate in Meki, that of Dodola is smaller and was inhabited until last year by a fidei donum priest of the diocese of Bari.
Parish houses are within an area that the government grants to carry out social and pastoral activities that the Catholic Church intends to develop".
"In Ethiopia – explains Don Giuseppe - the Catholic Church is considered an NGO, represented by a central Office based in Addis, to which all the Catholic eparchies of Oriental rite and Catholic vicariates of Latin rite must refer. Within the area assigned by the Government to individual parishes, one can carry out social activities (schools, health care, women's promotion, job creation, sports, agricultural projects ...) and pastoral care (catechesis, celebrations, Christian life education ...) only after the government, through the Central Office, approves the project submitted by the individual Churches. The project must have a precise description of what it intends to do, the duration of human resources and finance. The government follows and verifies through the state office for religious affairs the projects presented and their implementation".
"We foreign priests - continues the priest - can only be present if we have the appropriate studies to do a job. I, for example, with my Theology Diploma, equivalent to a civil law degree, have permission to stay in Adaba as elementary school principal, which is, inter alia, to be renewed annually. Within this normative framework, socio-pastoral work is carried out with the help of salaried lay people, who follow social activities".
"If someone wants to come to the mission - concludes Don Giuseppe -, he can stay in Ethiopia as a tourist for a maximum of 3 months. If you want to stay more, one should be part of one of the government-approved projects. If you come for just a few weeks, you can still learn and receive a lot from the missio ad gentes". (GG/AP) (Agenzia Fides, 9/5/2017)