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SouraphielThe NCR recently featured a story about a Vincentian who heads a Bishops Conference in Africa. He visited St. Johns recently and was honored at a special luncheon hosted by Father Joe Levesque, President of St. Johns.

The article “Ethiopian archbishop: Vatican should be credible moral source in the world” begins… “Catholics across Africa are seeking a revitalized church under Pope Francis that is “true to its call to the Gospel and not a power structure,” the archbishop-president of one of the continent’s national bishops’ conferences said.”

“We don’t need a power structure,” said Archbishop Berhaneyesus Souraphiel, head of Ethiopia’s Addis Ababa archdiocese and the country’s conference of bishops.

“That’s why the Papal States were given away,” Souraphiel said, referring to the vast Italian landholdings controlled by the papacy until the 19th century. The Vatican should be a “moral voice in the world [that is] credible, whether here in the States or in other parts of the world,” he said.

The article continues… “The Ethiopian archbishop said he equates the pope very closely with his 13th-century namesake, St. Francis of Assisi.

Referring to the historical story that the saint became inspired to found his religious order after hearing an apparition of Jesus tell him to “repair the church,” Souraphiel said the saint was asked to repair “not the physical structure, but to revive the church.”

“I think that’s one goal the Holy Father has — to revive the church from all angles,” Souraphiel said. “St. Francis was asked by the Lord to revive the church, to renew the church, to be near to the poor, and to be near to nature.”

Read the full article for his other insights into the Pope.

From Wikipedia…. Berhaneyesus Demerew Souraphiel was born on 14 July 1948 in Tchela Claka, near Harar in Ethiopia. He studied at the Makanissa Major Seminary and entered in the Congregation of the Mission (popularly known as Lazarists or Vincentians). He was ordained Catholic priest on 4 July 1976, and he earned a degree in sociology at the Pontifical Gregorian University. In 1990 Berhaneyesus Souraphiel became Provincial superior of the Lazarists in Addis Abeba. In 1994 he was appointed as Prefect of the Apostolic Vicariate of Jimma-Bonga.On 7 November 1997 he was chosen as auxiliary bishop of Addis Abeba and was consecrated bishop on 25 January 1998 by Cardinal Paulos Tzadua. On 7 July 1999 he succeeded to Cardinal Paulos Tzadua as Ethiopian Catholic Archbishop of Addis Abeba.