Ethiopia’s Cardinal urges repentance during Lent

By Habtamu Abrdew Beture

Ethiopia’s Archbishop of Addis Ababa, Cardinal Berhaneyesus Souraphiel C.M., is marking the start of Lent by calling on Ethiopians to pray for conversion of heart.

In his Lenten message, Cardinal Berhaneyesus emphasised that conversion of heart is the invitation of God our Father.

“We are all sinners in need of God’s mercy and forgiveness,” the Cardinal said, and added, “Lent is a special time for penance and repentance in response to God’s invitation for renewal and conversion of heart through prayer, good works and sacrifice in the midst of a secular culture of materialism, individualism and religious indifference.”

According to the Ethiopian Oriental Church’s tradition, the Lenten Season, this year, starts on 24 February. Easter will be on 19 April.

The Cardinal has also asked Ethiopians to forgive each other and be instruments of peace in the nation.

“Let us take a keen interest in this gracious moment of blessings and with sincerity of heart ask for God’s forgiveness for our sins; let us be ready to forgive others and live in love as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ who completely poured himself out for love of us. Penance helps us to grow; it brings us into more intimate contact with Christ, enlarging our capacity for His love,” said the Addis Ababa prelate.

For Christian families, Lent is an opportunity to unite and strengthen their spirituality.

“This sacred Season of Lent is a great opportunity for families to spend more time together; to pray together; to share the Word of God; to teach their children the meaning of Lent and the importance of making sacrifices,” the Cardinal said.

Cardinal Berhaneyesus continues by saying that Lent is not a Season for staying indoors.

Instead, it is a Season to go out of ourselves and be available for the service of others. Almsgiving reminds us that we should not live for ourselves, but for God and for our neighbour. We are stewards, not masters, of God’s many blessings, and by sharing the precious gift of ourselves and our resources, we increase our capacity for sharing as Christ does—without measure.