2014-05-09 17:11:45

Pope meets bishops of Ethiopia and Eritrea

May 09, 2014 - ‎Pope Francis on Friday encouraged the Catholic Church of Ethiopia and Eritrea to diffuse “the fragrance of ‎Christ’s closeness and his personal gaze” among the people, who for years have been tried by suffering both man-made and natural. The exhortation of the Pope came in his message to 16 bishops of Ethiopia and Eritrea who are in Rome on their ‘ad limina’ visit, which heads of dioceses are required to make every five years or so to report on the state of their jurisdiction. The bishops for the two countries, comprising both Latin and Ethiopian rites, form a single bishops’ conference.
“Dear brother Bishops, together with the priests, men and women religious, and lay faithful of ‎your local Churches, you are called to diffuse this fragrance of Christ in the midst of Ethiopia and ‎Eritrea,” the Pope told them, pointing to the suffering of the people such as years of conflict, continuing tensions, widespread ‎poverty and drought conditions. The Holy Father appreciated the bishops’ ‎generous social programmes in collaboration with ‎various religious, charitable and governmental agencies, aimed at alleviating the people’s suffering. He specially thought of the many children who experience hunger and who have been orphaned ‎because of violence and poverty. He also recalled young people, who would otherwise flee their country for better opportunities elsewhere risking their lives, and the elderly, who could so easily be forgotten in the midst of such hardships. The Pope commended the bishops’ efforts on behalf of the suffering people, the Pope said are a powerful witness to the love of God. “In your loving concern for the poor and downtrodden, may you continue to ‎seek new opportunities to cooperate with civil authorities in advancing the common good., “the Pope exhorted.
Besides advising the Ethiopian and Eritrean bishops regarding their priests, religious and the lay faithful, the Pope urged the Church leaders to unity, even though they belong to two different nations and rites. He noted that when the proclamation of the Gospel and building up the faithful in holiness, unity and charity, is exercised in collaboration ‎and mutual support, the Church, united in the Spirit, breathes with the two lungs of East and West ‎and burns with love for Christ.

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