Ethiopia & Near East
This Section (bigger than a Sector and smaller than a Province) consists of Ethiopia (4 communities), Jerusalem (1 house) and Lebanon (2 confreres). One of the principal focuses in this Province is Ecumenism.
There are 2 confreres still working in the Lebanon. Fr. Francis Leduc works with poor families in Beirut. Fr. Jean-Louis Lingot teaches and works in a French-speaking parish. He is much concerned with ministry to mixed (religion/nationality) couples.
2. Ethiopia – 3 communities
The Missionaries of Africa were originally invited to Ethiopia by a bishop of the Catholic Ethiopian rite who saw the work of the Missionaries in Jerusalem and was impressed by their respect for the non-Latin rites.
There are 4 communities in Adigrat Diocese in the Tigrinya-speaking part of Ethiopia (3 in Adigrat itself and 1 in Wukro) and a community in Kombolcha (North Central Ethiopia), which is mainly Amharic-speaking.
Some of the confreres in Adigrat are engaged in the formation of Missionary of Africa students, whereas others run a youth centre and a foyer for street children (boys and girls).
Adigrat is close to the Eritrean border and is overwhelmingly Ethiopian Orthodox in religion.
There are some Muslims and a tiny Catholic population.
The confreres in Wukro are involved in an agricultural school and the local university. They also run a social centre and are concerned in reforestation work. The confreres in Kombolcha offer “Come and See” sessions to Ethiopian students who wish to find out more about the Missionaries of Africa. Interreligious dialogue with both Christian and Muslim university students is also part of their mission.
There are 7 Ethiopian confreres. 2 work in Ethiopia and 5 elsewhere.
One of the principal works in this Section is Ecumenism. At St Anne’s Basilica, Jerusalem, there are 12 confreres and 12 students (3 of the students are now deacons and so also confreres). The 24 make up a single community with different fundamental areas of work although much work is shared.
The students go to the Salesian college (1 confrere lectures there also) for 4 years before ordination to the priesthood and have their own Rector. Confreres and students welcome pilgrims to the Basilica.
Other confreres are involved in archaeology of the site (Pool of Bethesda) and in the museum, which is being modernised.
Yet other confreres are involved in working with other Christians and Jews at various levels (ecumenism/interreligious dialogue/Justice and Peace etc.)
There is a library (dating from the time when St. Anne’s was a seminary run by the Missionaries of Africa for the Greek Catholics) containing upwards of 40,000 volumes. It is open to the public. The priest-confreres act as chaplains for different communities of religious men and women around Jerusalem.
There are also sessions (in English and French) every year each lasting 3 months, offering spiritual and biblical renewal for diocesan priests and religious coming from Africa.
The prestigious Proche Orient Chretien is no longer published from St. Anne’s. It has been given into the keeping of the Jesuit University in the Lebanon.
Since February 2016, part of the property has also housed offices for a lay organisation (Jerusalem Interchurch Centre), which provides independent monitors who aim by their presence to ensure peace at possible flashpoints e.g. accompanying Arab school children through checkpoints to Hebron.