Ethiopians, often refugees themselves, welcome newcomers, cardinal says
Ethiopia is now managing nearly a million refugees from South Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea, Sudan, Yemen and even Syria, said Ethiopian Cardinal Berhaneyesus Souraphiel. Because so many Ethiopians are refugees, those who remain in the country work to make newcomers feel welcome.
The cardinal, who visited Washington in late November, said his country had been “a country of hospitality, a country of open doors to migrants and refugees who suffer in other parts of the world. And if a poor country shares meagre resources she has with migrants and refugees, how much more should the richer countries (do). Because one day, you might be a refugee or a migrant yourself.
“I was surprised when I saw Syrian refugees in Addis Ababa and Ethiopia,” he added. “I don’t know how they arrived, the mothers arrived from Syria, and they have written on their chests in Amharic…’We are Syrians, we have come from Syria, please help us’.”
In separate interviews with Catholic News Service and with Catholic Standard, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Washington, Cardinal Souraphiel told of how the Church is helping refugees and how the country’s poverty is forcing people to emigrate from their homeland.
Cardinal Souraphiel said the Church is his country “is very much open to receive the refugees”. He said besides the Ethiopian Catholic Secretariat, the Church works with international agencies such as Jesuit Refugee Service, Catholic Near East Welfare Association, Caritas and affiliated agencies. Sisters of the Missionaries of Charity especially help with trauma counselling, he said.
Picture: Ethiopian Cardinal Berhaneyesus Souraphiel is seen at the headquarters of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington on 24th October 2019. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn).