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Pope to celebrate 100 years of Pontifical Ethiopian College inside Vatican

This January 2020, Pope Francis will be making a special visit to the only Pontifical College within the Vatican Gardens, the Ethiopian College. He will mark the 100th anniversary of the seminary, which has had nearly 300 students pass through since 1919.

The event will coincide with the rector's first anniversary in his position at the College.

Rector, Ethiopian College

“This year will celebrate 100 years of the institution of the college. But the presence of the Ethiopian monks and pilgrims goes back to the 15th century.”

As the centennial celebrations near, a 75-year-old Ethiopian bishop remembers another anniversary.

Vicariate Apostolic of Soddo

“I was here when we had celebrated the 50th Jubilee anniversary here of the college foundation. I happened to be here as a student. So, at that time, Paul VI had come to visit, to join the occasion.”

This time, it is Pope Francis who will make the visit. He will be joined by many Ethiopian and Eritrean pilgrims belonging to the Pontifical College's practiced Oriental rite. 

The students and rectors are excited for the papal visit and say Pope Francis means a lot to Africans. 

Vice Rector, Ethiopian College

"As you know, that the different countries of Africa, we have many problems politically, economically. 3:03 The pope is the one who is our spiritual father. When he goes he's not speaking on only political things. But he speaks also on the material things and also for political things. So he's a man who is voice for the voiceless. For that, we are happy."

The vice rector said after each of the pope's four trips to the continent, those in despair are encouraged with a great hope to continue their faith. He's expecting that same motivation in January.

Melissa Butz