The Eparchy of Bahirdar-Dessie Baptizes 300 Catechumens
The Ethiopian Catholic Church Eparchy of Bahir dar-Dessie, baptized 300 Catechumens (who were practicing of traditional beliefs) among the people of Gumuz, in Banshagul Gumuz Regional State, Ethiopia on November 27, 2016 on the Feast of the Miraculous Medal. The Eparchy of Bahirdar-Dessie went to the village known as Banush in a remote area located 600 kms from Addis and can be reached only after a long walk through the bushes and crossing 3 rivers to preach the Good News.
With the request of the people, who have accepted the teachings of the Gospel and joined the Catholic Church community, H.E. Bishop Lesanu-Chirstos, Eparch of Bahirdar-Dessie, blessed and erected a cross and a bell in the future site of a church and another cross at the community’s cemetery as a sign of Christian community. The Eparch with the help of 6 priests then one by one baptized the 300 new Christians who are old and young men and women as well as infants.
In his homily H.E. Bishop Lesanu-Chirstos said that the day is a joyous day for the Church. “God is Great, God is a Father to all of us; we say the Our Father Prayer here and throughout the world and this proves that we are all children of God whom he created equally with the same human dignity. Today when you receive this great sacrament you become Sons and daughters of God, people of God and members of the Church, this brings great joy in heaven and great joy on earth for the entire Church” said Bishop Lesanu-Chirstos congratulating the new followers of Christ.
The Eparch of Bahirdar-Dessie also noted that it was one evangelized local, young man named Takel, who first brought the request to the Church to bring the light of Our Lord to his community in the remote area of Banush and stressed the importance of continued evangelizing as still there are many people who have not been as lucky as the Baptized Banush community. “The testimony of one young believer and the diligent efforts of the Pastoral agents of the Catholic Church have brought 300 more children of God home, however, there are still more of our brothers and sisters who did not receive the Good news of the Lord and with God’s Grace we shall continue to shine the light of Our Lord and spread the Good News,” he said.
On the occasion, the newly baptized Christians were celebrating dressed in white clothes and lighting candles as a sign of the Light of Our Lord Jesus Christ that is shinning upon them and the receiving of the New Life in Jesus Christ. They were also singing in their local language “we know what we trust in”. The ceremony was attended by families of the baptized, clergies, religious men and women, catechists and the faithful from different Dioceses.
The Eparch of Bahirdar-Dessie is the youngest Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction of the Ethiopian Catholic Church. Currently there are more than 500 cathacumens in neighboring villages who are contacted and eagerly waiting to be baptized. The Catholic Church first went to the Gumuz people 15 years ago with 3 Comboni sisters (Sr. Jamilety, Tilda, and Bertila) who planted the first seed of the Good News of Jesus Christ in Mandura district. Since then the Catholic Church with the efforts of religious congregations and the only Diocesan priest of the Eparchy, Abba Teklemariam Amanuel, have produced not only many Christians but also a number of educated and well prepared leaders among the communities.