Robe (Agenzia Fides) - "Before the Father there are no first and second class children. Important children and those who are worthless. Honorable children and despicable children", said the Apostolic Prefect of Robe, Father Angelo Antolini, at the inauguration of the "Araara" Neuropsychiatric Center in Bale last Sunday, February 5th. "It is a social work that is also of great importance for evangelization in our Muslim environment," said the Italian missionary.
"Among the precarious conditions in which we live here in Ethiopia," continues Father Antolini, "the area of mental and neurological diseases is the least covered and not yet significantly developed.
The world of mental illness is so delicate and with still so many taboos that almost frightens us, yet medical science is making impressive progress in healing or at least alleviating the suffering of our brothers and sisters with mental illness."
"I have always said that before God there are no first and second class brothers and sisters, as unfortunately we are often divided among ourselves," continues the Apostolic Prefect, who laments that "our society has mentally ill people who often refer to our blocking roads, considered and treated as human waste." "Therefore, the Catholic Church wanted to show a sign of God's love for his children by creating this health facility that I wanted to call "Araara", a word used in the social structure of the Oromo people is so important and means "reconciliation"," he affirms. "Reconciliation is the basis for peace and well-being of the people. I would like to add that reconciliation with oneself, with others and with God is also the basis of mental health. "Ethiopia is a rich country, our people are rich, but the wealth is poorly distributed. Let's all work for more justice, then we will all be better off," concluded the Prefect Apostolic of Robe.
The work on the psychiatric clinic, financed 70% by the Italian Bishops' Conference and the rest by donations, started in 2015 (see Fides, 5/9/2015).
The recent inauguration was attended, among others, by Bishop Rocco Pennacchio of Fermo, Apostolic Nuncio to Ethiopia and Djibouti, Archbishop Antoine Camilleri, Secretary General of the Ethiopian Catholic Secretariat, Rev. Teshome Fikre, and some of his collaborators.
In Bale, it was first Mother Teresa of Calcutta who personally reached out to people with mental health problems who were completely abandoned. In Goba, a few kilometers from Robe, there is still the Sisters of the Missionaries of Charity center, which treats hundreds of patients with psychiatric and neurological problems of varying degrees of severity. (AP) (Agenzia Fides, 7/2/2023)