Vicariate of Gambella

I. HISTORICAL NOTE

The Ethiopian Catholic Church started its operation in Gambella in the 1990s, when there were only 8 dioceses in all over the country. In the Ethiopian Catholic Church administrative structure, Gambella area was under the diocese of the Apostolic Prefecture of Jimma Bonaga. As Gambella is a first evangelization area where most of the local people are traditional believers, there was a big need of pastoral work. Gambella is also one of the four emerging regional states in Ethiopia where the need for social and development intervention was unavoidable. However due to the remoteness of Gambella region from Addis Ababa and also from Jimma town, where the headquarters of the Jimma Bonga Prefecture is located, the Catholic Church was not able to fully accomplish its mission in the area. Therefore to better represent the Catholic Church in Gambella and large part of the Illubabor Zone of Oromiya region, the establishment of one more diocese was important. Hence the Holy See declared the launching of the Apostolic Prefecture of Gambella in November 2000. The installation of the new diocese and the first Apostolic Prefect Msgr. Angelo Moreschi was held on February 25, 2001.

When the prefecture was established taking areas from the Jimma Bonga Prefecture, there were only two parishes and some outstations and almost no intervention in social and development activities. The physical structure in which the Prefecture started its activity was consisted of only one Church and a parish house. It was the responsibility and burden of the newly appointed Apostolic Prefect to put things in order and shape the future of the Catholic Church in Gambella. Needless to say that, the work of enabling the Catholic Church in Gambella to stand on its foot was started from scratch. The hard work of all the pastoral agents for ten years was recognized by the Holy See and it was decided by the same to elevate the prefecture to a Vicariate. It was with great joy that we celebrated the elevation of the prefecture to a vicariate and the consecration of His Excellency Bishop Angelo Moreschi as the first Apostolic Vicar of the Vicariate of Gambella on January 31, 2010.

2.EXTENT:

The Apostolic Vicariate of Gambella comprises all the Gambella Region and large part of Illubabor Zone in Oromiya Region.

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