My name is Ghebreysus Ghebrezghi. I was born in Eritrea. I wish to say something about myself and my country.
In 1993, after 30 years of war, Eritrea, formerly part of Ethiopia, finally became recognized by the United Nations as an independent country. The country has an area of 48,489 square miles and a population of 6.3 million. Although reliable statistics are not available, itís estimated that 50 percent of the population is Sunni Muslim, 30 percent is Orthodox Christian, and 13 percent is Roman Catholic. Groups that constitute less than 5 percent of the population include Protestants, Seventh-day Adventists, Jehovah's Witnesses, Buddhists, Hindus and Baha'is.
Approximately 2 per cent of the population practises indigenous religious beliefs. The population is predominantly Muslim in the eastern and western lowlands and predominantly Christian in the highlands. Religious participation is high among all ethnic groups.
I grew up in a Catholic family and I was particularly influenced and encouraged by my fatherís devotion and faith. Now he is 92 year old. I have six brothers and three sisters, but I miss one lovely brother, who after a long time of suffering from diabetes, died on March 28th 2009.
Early life and education
I attended Martin Luther King Primary public School in Eritrea from 1970 - 1975. In 1976, when I was 12, I attended as a minor seminarian at the monastery of the Catholic Secondary School, Keren, and then Holy Savior Catholic High school Asmara, Eritrea, around 1985. One of the most formative times of my life was when I was at the novitiate in the Cistercian monastery.
From 1985 - 1991 I studied a Philosophy and Theology Course, at the Catholic Institute of Theology affiliated to Pontificate Urbanian, University of Rome. After two years of philosophy and four years of theology, I graduated as a Bachelor of Theology on June 3rd 1991 from the Pontifical University Urban Institute affiliated to the Catholic Theological Institute, Asmara.
I was ordained a priest on May 3rd 1992 by the Bishop of Eparchy of Asmara, the Right Reverend Zercharias Yohannes. During the ceremony it was a moment of blessing and grace and great joy; at the moment of consecration I was overwhelmed by the gift God had given me and prayed in awe, 'O Lord what have you given me?' After that Mass, as people came forward to kiss my hands, all I could think was, 'O Lord make me a good priest'. I was so happy. I couldn't thank the Lord enough for who I am and what he has done for me.
From 1993-1998 I worked as a rector of minor seminary in Ethiopia. Because of the war between Eritrea and Ethiopia all missionaries left Ethiopia. I was sent to further studies in Rome from 1999-2002 where I studied in St. Anselm University for advanced further studies of Sacred Theology.
From 2002-2006, after my studies in Rome, I returned to Eritrea where I became rector to the major seminary.
From 2006-2009 I lived and worked in Italy. In 2010 I moved to the UK to serve the Eritrean Catholic Community in Leeds. After one year, I also served the Eritrean community of Sheffield and Manchester. For almost four years at St. Augustineís Presbytery I was supplying in different parishes in the Diocese of Leeds. On 25th August 2014, I moved to St. Gregory's Presbytery to serve the people of God in the parish of Blessed John Henry Newman.
One of my hobbies is jogging and another is playing the piano.
In one of his speeches, St. John Paul II says, 'Our Universal Catholic Church breathes with two lungs. That is, Our Church has been blessed with two big rites, Eastern rite and Western rite. Worshipping with full heart both in Latin rite and Eastern rite for me is a grace. The Eritrean Catholic community is one of the Ancient traditions with the Eastern rite. Iím glad to serve both the Eritrean and English community. Our main goal with the Eritrean Community is to keep the Catholic faith firm and to live according to the teaching of the Catholic Church. Everyone has a duty to be an evangeliser of the Good News of the Lord. My wish is to bring people to the right way of the Lord; As the Lord says ĎI am the Way, the Truth and the Life.í
Blessed be the name of the Lord.