Every two to three years the Brothers of Saint John who reside in Africa come together for a time of fraternity and formation. This year was the first time the meeting was held in Ethiopia.
The meeting coincided with the major feast of Timkat (the Baptism of the Lord), the 10th anniversary of the community coming to Ethiopia and the blessing and opening of the new Saint John Centre in Addis Abeba. In sum, the kairos was at its pinnacle! The programme was a happy mix of work, discovery of Ethiopia and participation in the celebrations.
Activities and Celebrations
– An evening or prayer with the School of Life: adoration and praise in French and Amharic with young people brimming with fervour.
– An evening looking back over the past 10 years: video, history, testimonies, etc.
– A celebration of Timkat with the Orthodox Christians
– Mass for the Baptism of the Lord in the Ethiopian Rite at the Cathedral: diving into the Ethiopian Rite.
– A generous welcome given by the Ethiopians, School of Life, oblates, friends and Orthodox Christians during Timkat.
– Mass for the opening of the new building with the Apostolic Nuncio, Mgr Camilleri.
– Restaurant and culture: food and traditional dance.
– Two meetings about the intellectual heritage of Fr Philippe: these were marked by the freedom to speak, a sincere listening to one another and charity, all of which were palpable despite the questions that this topic raises among us.
– Work on our finances with a friend and coach, Katharina Schauer, and a representative from l’Oeuvre d’Orient, Philippe Alcquier, who had come for the 10 year anniversary.
– A walk to the Portuguese Bridge and shrine of St Tkelele: discovery of Ethiopian nature, an Orthodox saint and popular piety.
– Fraternal reunions after many years of not seeing one another.
– Blessing of the Saint John Centre in the presence of our new Apostolic Nuncio, Mgr Camilleri.
A testimony from Br Benoît-David: “What I found especially touching was being able to meet up with brothers whom I have not seen since my years spent in Quebec, before coming to Addis Abeba in September, 2019. We were also able to share many things and collaborate on financial matters. I was amazed to learn about the size and coherence of the project being undertaken in Kara.”
Before the meeting took place we were able to receive our first visit from the Vicar of Africa, Br Jean-Philippe, and also the Master of Studies, Br François-Frédéric.
We all left amazed by the experience and give Glory to God!