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Spiritan Missionaries in Ethiopia Spearheading Establishment of Chaplaincy to African Union

CANAA || By Father Don Bosco Onyalla, Nairobi || 21 May 2018

Members of the Missionary Congregation of the Spiritans, also known as the Holy Ghost Father, ministering in Ethiopia are spearheading the establishment of the Chaplaincy to the African Union (AU) in the country’s capital, Addis Ababa.

The Chaplaincy project involves reaching out to the staff and delegates of the African Union Commission (AUC) and others in the neighborhood with pastoral and spiritual care and the strengthening of “the Spiritan humanitarian services through social development activities and provide self-sustenance for the church activities.”

According to the Spiritan Provincial Superior of Ethiopia, Father Dennis Bukenya, the fundraising initiative toward the realization of the main infrastructure of the project was officially launched in March 2018 by the Archbishop of Addis Ababa, Berhaneyesus D. Cardinal Souraphiel.

The details of this Chaplaincy project whose main objective is “to establish a Chapel, Fathers’ residence, Social and Pastoral office complex and Self-sustenance project” are contained in a Concept Note sent to CANAA Monday, May 21.

Set to kick off in 2019, the project is to be implemented in three phases with the first phase consisting the Chapel and the foundation of the entire structure.

“Presently, our fervent prayer is to raise Euro 1 Million for Phase one i.e. 2018 – 2019 (2 years),” the Concept Note of the project has it in part.

Below is the full text of the Concept Note with details of the Chaplaincy project being established 

Establishing A Chaplaincy to The African Union Commission in Addis Ababa: Concept Note

This Chaplaincy project will offer pastoral/spiritual services, strengthen the Spiritan humanitarian services through social development activities and provide self-sustenance for the church activities.

Location of the project: Adjacent to AUC, Opposite New AU Presidential Hotel in Addis Ababa, at Kera, Woreda 06, Plot 069.

Main Objective: To establish a Chapel, Fathers’ residence, Social & Pastoral office complex and Self-sustenance project.

Specific Objectives

1. To provide pastoral services of chaplaincy to the staff and delegates of African Union Commission and the people in the surroundings.

2. To strengthen the collaboration, partnership and relationship between the Church and African Union Commission.

3. To have a well-established base for the Spiritan pastoral and social outreach to the underprivileged communities.

4. To provide means of self-sustenance for the Church activities.

Project Implementation

The project shall be implemented in phases; Phase one: the Chapel and the foundation. Phase two: Fathers accommodation and office complex. Phase three: Facilities for Mission sustenance. Presently, our fervent prayer is to raise Euro 1 Million for Phase one i.e. 2018 – 2019 (2 years) Date of starting the project: 2019, Date of completion Phase one 2020 (2 years). The whole structure has to meet the government requirements i.e. minimum G+10.

Project description

The overarching vocation of the Church is to prepare people for the Kingdom of God; but also, to support global, continental and national institutions where economic, social and political decisions are conceived and taken for the well-being of all God’s creatures. Hence the readiness of our Congregation to collaborate with the African Union Commission  in Addis Ababa in the quest to achieve the sustainable development goals of the continent in line with the social teachings of the Catholic church.

The Church continues to offer the Spiritual, humanitarian and social development services to all the communities without discrimination wherever the need arises i.e. the Church endeavors are always in line with the philosophy of leaving no one behind in the promotion of human dignity and the common good. Apart from pastoral services, the project shall offer other services including; administration, advocacy, Justice  & Peace, Care for Immigrants, skills acquisition and other social development services linking and giving support to our mission areas of Borana, Gamo Gofa and Hamer in the South of Ethiopia.

Mobilization of resources and funding strategy:

v  Continental champions: Heads of State ( who would graciously accept to voice out our appeal for the building of a center of worship and inter-faith communion in support of the success of the work of the African Union and the continent; We plan to approach the president of Equatorial Guinea and other heads of states.

v  Diplomatic champions: Ambassadors, AU Commissioners, and UN Chief executives in Ethiopia who are willing to help keep the idea of the project alive in the minds of the potential donors in Ethiopia and in their respective countries;

v  Spiritan Friends: these are the Faithful across the various international organizations in Ethiopia, across the various Church communities in Addis Ababa and other places in the country plus individuals who have already started contributing their ‘widow’s mites’ toward the realization of the project;

v   Spiritan Friends International: these networks shall, hopefully, be established by the Friends and Church communities in Africa and other continents (USA, Europe, Asia) to mobilize support for the project.

v  Corporate champions: these include; business enterprises, companies and investors who wish to contribute and give generously their support to this project.

Our strategy is inclusive and open to all categories of people here in Ethiopia and abroad. Any support is appreciated whether material, technical or financial. We call upon your partnership with us to support the realization of this project. Your contribution to this project shall be acknowledged and you shall always remain in our masses and prayers. Names of all the funders shall be written in our Golden book and the Champions of the project shall be inscribed on one section of the project on marble stone as to remain part of the project forever.

Achievements: A land of 1380 square meters has been secured. Architectural design is done. HE Cardinal Berhaneyesus launched a fundraising program on 10/3/2018. There is an ongoing local network of fundraising that has been put in place and is expanding. Plans for fundraising abroad are under way. 

Implementers of the Project: Religious congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans) under the auspices of the Catholic Church, the Catholic Community at AUC,  with the support of members of other religious communities and the professionals. The committee for development of the property and management structure for the fundraising have been put in place. Tools for transparency and accountability are our priority.

About Spiritan Congregation in Ethiopia

The Spiritan Mission in Ethiopia started in 1972 and is mainly based among the marginalized pastoral tribes in the South namely; Borana, Hamer and Gamo Gofa. The Spiritan mission activities include; Educational, Pastoral and Social development works.

Key Values of the Spiritans

a. Living the faith with respect and openness towards other people’s culture, customs and beliefs. b. Solidarity with the most disadvantaged c. Professionalism by working to the highest possible standards in line with the best practices d. Working in collaboration with the Government, churches, communities and donors.

Spiritan Motto: One Heart and One Soul (Cor Unum et anima una)

Spiritan Vision: A society where everyone, especially the disadvantaged, have life and have it to the full.

Spiritan Mission statement: The proclamation of the Good News of the Kingdom of God, especially to the most disadvantaged through pastoral and development work

This project shall serve as source for ‘spiritual reawakening’ for all Christians and Faithfull in general. It is as well a Centre for the planning and management of all the social development and welfare programs that the congregation shall organize from Addis Ababa for the benefit of the regional projects in Borana, Gamo Gofa, Hamer in the South and for the underprivileged people in Addis Ababa.

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