Ethiopia first hit the headlines in the 1980s when a devastating famine caused the starvation of a million people. Thankfully, much has changed since then but despite the recent economic growth, Ethiopia remains one of the poorest countries in the world.
World Mission Sunday is on 21 October 2018. Missio, the Pope’s official charity for overseas mission, is appealing to the faithful of England and Wales to ‘help build a future of hope’ in Ethiopia and around the world, through prayers and financial support.
Even though the Catholic Church comprises only one per cent of a population of 100 million, many people benefit from the Church’s mission in Ethiopia.
The Menja people are one of the ethnic groups the Church is reaching out to. They are a people socially excluded and discriminated against due to their cultural traditions, which make them ‘untouchable’ to the majority of the population in the south-eastern Kaffa region.
This social exclusion means that Menja adults struggle to find work and earn an income. Simple things like feeding their families, having a home and providing clothing for their children is a daily struggle. The intolerance they face makes it very difficult for Menja children to go to school and improve their prospects for a better future.
The Little Sisters of Jesus have made it their mission to overcome the marginalisation, discrimination and hurt endured by the Menja, by living alongside the Menja families.
Sr Karlo is one of the Little Sisters of Jesus serving the Menja people.
‘Everyone looks down upon the Menja people as poor, uneducated and socially untouchable’, she says. ‘We Sisters live among them and proclaim the Gospel by our living. We invite them to our house and welcome them as friends. They are not recognised as human beings by the people here…’
She said: “I find Jesus in them; they are a kind people and have a lot to teach us. They are the ones who will decide about following Jesus. We are here only to show the power of His love.”
Through Missio, the Pope’s official charity for overseas mission, you can support men and women like Sr Karlo, who choose to reach out across cultural and geographical boundaries to those who have little hope for the future.
World Mission Sunday is one of the most special days in our global Church, uniting Catholics all over the world through prayer and practical support.