Thursday, November 8, 2012

Ethiopia: Cistercian Monastery and First Mass

Cistercian Holy Savior Parish church, Mendida.
Holy Savior Parish, where the youth encounter in Mendida took place, is staffed by Ethiopian Cistercian monks. Their monastery, on the same grounds, is also the novitiate of their community. It's a beautiful, very monastic setting in the cool highlands of Mendida.

Monastery courtyard.

Professed monk and novice.

Monastery cemetery.

Panoramic view of valley below from monastery.

View of monastery on top of hill from valley below.
Mendida also happens to be the hometown of Fr. Joseph, the Cistercian monk whose ordination we attended the previous Sunday in Addis Ababa. By God's providence, our visit happened to coincide with his first Mass in his home parish. It was quite a celebration. The whole Catholic community eagerly awaited his arrival, with some going out on horseback and in trucks to meet him along the road, and the others staying back at the parish to welcome him once he arrived.

There was singing, dancing and jubilation upon his arrival. At the gate of the compound he was clothed in an alb and new vestments and was accompanied into the parish church by the singing and dancing throng. There the Blessed Sacrament was exposed for a time of adoration, followed by Fr. Joseph giving us Benediction.

Waiting for the arrival of the new priest.

Venerating the hands of the new priest at his first Mass.
The church was full at his first Mass the next day. At one point in the celebration all of us present venerated his consecrated hands, which now feed us with the Eucharistic Body of Christ and administer the other Sacraments. After Mass was another joyous procession with singing, drumming, dancing and jumping to the hall where breakfast was served.

1 comment:

  1. How wonderful to see such enthusiasm. The Lord is so loved and revered. Bless you in your mission.