AFRICA/ETHIOPIA - Christmas in the small community of Gode: a time to take care of each other

Thursday, 11 January 2024


Gode (Agenzia Fides) - "The joy of Christmas, although not understood in the same way by everyone, was a moment to share together the fact that we belong to one family and that we take care of each other" declared to Fides, on the occasion of the Ethiopian Christmas, Sister Joaquin Brown, missionary in Gode, in the Somali region of Ethiopia.

"On January 7, we celebrated Christmas which here in Ethiopia follows the Eastern Church calendar", he explained. This year we had a relatively peaceful celebration for our small Catholic community of Gode which lives within the walls of the Apostolic Prefecture of Robe (see Fides, 1/4/2022), and another with our people who belong to all denominations, Orthodox, Protestant and Muslim. After the Christmas celebration, 100 of our poor people and their children joined us, with whom we shared a few hours of fun, games and dancing....under the sun of Gode", insists the nun. "Small, simple gestures of sharing for everyone, adults received an item of clothing, women also received a metal trunk to store their clothes to prevent rats from eating them.
The older boys couldn't believe their eyes when they saw that each of them had received a real balloon, while the girls were using their water sticks to blow bubbles," concluded the missionary. "To properly celebrate the birth of Christ, let us respect the life of humanity, the Church of God and its holy places," said Cardinal Berhaneyesus Demerew Souraphiel in his Ethiopian Christmas message. "Let us leave the spirit of selfishness, let death stop in our country, let peace spread", he added, addressing the people of God with a particular reference to the bloody conflicts underway in the Ethiopian region of Amhara, the second largest largest in the country, scene of prolonged violence, and in the northern region of Tigray, where the serious crisis has not stopped since November 4, 2020 (see Fides, 14/12/2020).

The local Ordinary of Addis Ababa, who is also president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Ethiopia (CBCE), also urged Ethiopians to "remember the victims of the conflict, caring for the hungry, the thirsty, of those who have been abused, the sick and those who have been displaced. Let us be with them, let us help them, let us comfort them. Let us be a refuge for those who have no shelter."

Gode mission is located in the middle of the Somali desert, in the Somali region of Ethiopia. The vast majority of the population is Muslim, there is a small presence of Orthodox and Evangelical communities, and a small presence of the Catholic Church in the mission, made up of seven missionaries including Sister Joaquin. (AP) (Agenzia Fides, 11/1/2024)