Inauguration of Saint John the Evangelist’s church
On this grand opening day of Saint John Church in Addis Abeba, several hundred guests gathered in a festive and joyful atmosphere. Starting at 9 a.m. many people in the French-speaking parish, from the Catholic Church of Ethiopia, from the neighbourhood, some of the community member’s families and some workers involved in the construction, gathered on the freshly flowered church forecourt.
The prior general of the Brothers of Saint John, father François Xavier Cazali, came to Ethiopia for the occasion which represents a major step for the Entoto priory.
Abune Lesane Christos, bishop of Dare Dessie and the priests walked around the building three times, led by the Ethiopian youth choir and followed by the crowd all to the sound of the bells.
After the handing over the keys ceremony, the faithful discovered the interior of the church, decorated with many ornaments for this occasion. The night before, most of the furniture had been blessed during a prayer vigil in which a relic of Saint John Paul II was exposed, now placed in the altar stone.
During the inaugural Mass, the crowd sang beautiful hymns in Amharic, in English, in French or in West African languages. The many languages used to praise the Lord, testifies to the multinational aspect of our Christian community in Addis Abeba. During all the inauguration’s preparation, young Ethiopians who had attended our School of Life came to help, with some also involved in the choir. Their fidelity to the community is a way of thanks for the organised activities, the summer camps, the weekends and every moment they spent with the Brothers of Saint John during the ten past years.
After the blessing of the walls, the stain glass windows and altar, cardinal Berahneyesus celebrated Mass in the new chapel.
After Mass, Abba Philip offered gifts to the Cardinal, to the prior general, to workers and to main actors of the project. The crowd then went to the basement for grace and lunch. Families prepared several buffets: an Ethiopian buffet with the famous injera and ginger drinks, a West African buffet with traditional African food, and another which was dedicated to European food.
This magnificent day and those enjoyable moments shared with the Catholic community of Ethiopia honoured the long-term work that had begun years ago. The aim of welcoming the youth, the elderly, Ethiopians, foreigners, orphans and expatriate to the Saint John’s priory of Entoto is now closer than ever.
However, there are still some final adjustment works in the chapel like, filling of walls and site work, paving, water and energy networks, basement works, construction of the guardian’s house, etc.
The chapel hopes to wlecome those who wish to pray here at the Entoto priory.
Everyone who helped during the year is thanked, particularly those who helped with funding the project and the inauguration preparation!