Makeda Yohannes – Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
The Boeing 737 Max 8 plane bound for Nairobi, Kenya went down last Sunday morning near Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa killing all passengers and crew.
Thursday’s Requiem Mass was held at the Holy Saviour Parish in Addis Ababa and was organised by the Ethiopian Catholic Church and the International Catholic Community in Addis Ababa.
157 White Roses, 157 Candles for each life
On the occasion, a bouquet of 157 white roses was prepared, and 157 candles were lit to represent every victim of the accident. The parents and family of Mrs Ama Teklemariam, a Catholic who was a crew member on ET 302, were also present at the Mass.
Apostolic Nuncio conveys Pope Francis’ divine blessings of consolation
Archbishop Luigi Bianco, the Apostolic Nuncio to Ethiopia and Djibouti and Special Delegate to Somalia, read out Pope Francis’ message of condolences as well as assurances of prayers. In the message, the Holy Father prayed for all the deceased and invoked divine blessings of consolation for all bereaved families.
Tragedy has brought the world together in grief says Ethiopian Airlines
Speaking at the end of the Requiem Mass, Mr Fikire Degef, who attended the event on behalf of Ethiopian Airlines’ CEO Mr Tewolde GebreMariam, noted that the victims had brought the world together in grief, shock and above all in prayer. He assured that Ethiopian Airlines would do its best to support the families of the victims get closure.
“We at Ethiopian Airlines pray that they may rest in peace. We will work hard to accompany the families of the victims through this difficult time,” he said.
UN Economic Commission for Africa prays for victims and for families
Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Dr Vera Songwe for her part thanked the Catholic Church in bringing together families, friends and colleagues of the victims and the international community in Addis Ababa to pray together. She added that such a tragedy reminds us of our mortality and that we have limited time on this earth to do good in the world.
“A tragedy like this reminds us of our mortality and encourages us to do better with our time on earth,” she said.
Kenya’s Ambassador to Ethiopia Ms Catherine Mwangi also thanked the Church for gathering the congregation to pray for the departed. She said that coming face to face with families of the departed underscored the immensity of the tragedy.
“Let us pray that God may grant those who lost friends and family the grace to make meaning of their lives without their loved ones,” prayed the Ambassador.
Cardinal Berhaneyesus says we should make each day count
Before the final Blessing, Cardinal Berhaneyesus, CM, concluded the Requiem Mass by saying such a tragedy should remind us that we should live every day as though it was the last day of our lives.
“We should always be ready … always for the coming of our Lord. We should decide to drop all that is bad in this world and chose only what is good. We should ... live in harmony witnessing the Gospel in our lives,” he said.
The Cardinal also called on all to unite in prayer for the souls of the departed and for the consolation of the bereaved families. He further prayed for Ethiopian Airlines management and staff that God would grant them the grace to continue their services with the usual success.