Ordination of Fr. Belete Fanta M.Afr. (Ethiopia)
our second Ethiopian confrere
(the 1st is Yoseph Giday ordained 29th June 2008, I will have the photos soon)
On Sunday the 20th of July 2008
at St Mary´s Catholic Parish Church, in Bale Goba. (parish of Belete), South of Addis Abeba.
Priestly ordination of the second Ethiopian MAfr
It was on the 20th of July 2008 that the Church of Goba in the Apostolic Vicariate of Meki witnessed the priestly ordination of Belete Fanta. He is originally from the same parish and was the second Ethiopian to be ordained priest in the society of the MAfr. The first was Joseph Gidey ordained three weeks earlier in the Eparchy of Adigrat.
In Ethiopia, the MAfr are only present in the northern part of the country, in the Eparchy of Adigrat. There we have the first phase (in Adigrat) and the "Come and See" program for a year in Wukro. Already on Tuesday 15th July, a convoy of two cars left Adigrat heading to the South for this wonderful event. On board was Jim Green, a member of the general counsel who was in the country to honour this event of its own kind in the history of the MAfr's presence in Ethiopia in particular and for the whole Church of Ethiopia in general. There were also Gerry Murphy the sector superior , Kevin, Eddy, Joseph the newly ordained, Moses a student from Saint Anne's (Jerusalem), six of our Ethiopian students, sister Manna from the Eparchy, Agnes a MSOLA candidate. They collected Jean de Dieu Bukuru, another student from Jerusalem who was arriving in Addis. From Meki Bishop Abune Abraham Desta, who ordained Belete, joined the convoy.
Now, from Adigrat to Addis there is a distance of 900km on a road that is not in good conditions. Then from Addis to Goba there is another distance of 420 km on an adventurous road. It took 4 days in all for the convoy to reach its destination. Sabu, our confrere in charge of vocation animation had left earlier on to help in the preparations.
The mass of the event started at nine o'clock presided by Abune Abraham. Since Belete had been baptised in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, the arrangement was that he be ordained deacon in the catholic roman rite and priest in the catholic Ethiopian rite. The celebration was very colourful, prayerful and exciting for the faithful of Goba who had the privilege to witness for the very first time the ceremonies of priestly ordination in their parish. In fact Belete was the very first priest from the parish of Goba. A cloud of emotions, excitement and awe, as well as incense, hovered over the crowd that filled the beautifully decorated church of Goba. The choir animated the ritual with nice ear and soul soothing hymns. The liturgy was enthused by graceful liturgical dances of little girls. The reception of the hat signifying celibacy takes place after the Communion and is the crowning event of priestly ordination in the Ethiopian liturgy. From the comments of those present, the mass was described as being very simple, short and yet very rich, prayerful, inspiring and beautiful. Being in Amharic, I could understand nothing of the homily. But the fact that it was marked by rounds of applause at different moments revealed it to be very powerful and touching.
After the mass followed socialisation around a variety of local dishes with mainly homemade beer and soft drinks. It was held in the precincts of Mother Theresa Sisters' house. This centre is a hospice for the mentally and physically disabled in different ways. Before the beginning of the social gathering, the bishop and those around him made a visit of the hospice. It shelters about 400 inmates.
In the evening, the event finished with the visit to a national park which is a sanctuary of the red wolves.Though the journey was long and less comfortable with cars breaking down at different points of it, its raison d'être was very rewarding. Passing through some of the most beautiful panoramas of the Ethiopian landscape, with the free show of different wild animals such as the wild pigs and deer compensated the difficulties encountered during the journey. We pray that the Master of the harvest continues to call more Ethiopians into the field of his mission. May the Lord bless Ethiopia and the mission for which he has called us in this beautiful country.
Jean de Dieu Bukuru
Student in Jerusalem
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