According to the Acts of the Apostles an ‘Ethiopian, a eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure’ was one of the first Christians (8:27).

Today the Christians of Ethiopia are among the poorest in the world. There is no earthly treasure here, only poverty, but they still remain faithful. Their real treasure is the Sacraments.

In the parish of Arguba, in the apostolic vicariate of Jimma-Bonga, they would love to be able to provide a fitting house for these treasures and for the liturgical fittings, books and vessels pertaining to them. But their simple grass-thatched wooden chapels would not be a safe place: rats, termites and other pests, combined with the wind and rain, mean that the chapels have to be rebuilt every couple of years.

Now they want to build a church that will last and be secure. ‘What is to stop me being baptised?’, the eunuch asked Philip, who then baptised him. What is to stop us helping these Ethiopians from building a worthy house of God in which they can receive the grace of the sacraments today?

Especially since many otherwise well-disposed Ethiopians might wonder at these impoverished huts and doubt whether the true God lives there? No need for material treasures; just a simple and permanent church, built by their own hands and through the generosity of their brothers and sisters in the faith in Europe, America and elsewhere…that would be an enormous boost to their faith. We have promised our support for the new church in Arguba.

Also in the same vicariate, for the people of the Manja tribe, there are additional difficulties as they are a discriminated minority. There the Church has already built a kindergarten and a primary school for the almost 2,000 Catholics of the Manja people but now they need a solid church to replace the crumbling grass-thatched, timber-framed mud hut they currently use.

Here too, your solidarity and generosity have made possible our grant, their fidelity to Christ has been rewarded, God’s name has been glorified and we all have been blessed.

This article can be found in Mirror 0516.