Friday, 11 March 2016

The Angel of Ethiopia

Introduction :

An Ethiopian Boy almost 16 years old could well be on the same level as Saint Dominic Savio -- his contemporary or any of the other well known saints of the Catholic Church.

His name was Gabriel Ghirba.

He was born at Lagamara, Ethiopia in 1843. His Parents were of the Ghirba Tribe, the lowest of all the tribes in the country according to the opinion of people at that time.

His Parents were not Christians, but a local Priest Abba Hailu instructed the unusually intelligent child in the Catholic Faith and gave him the Christian name of Gabriel.

Innocence and Purity :

In September 1855, the Missionary Bishop William Massaia reached Lagamara.

Gabriel opened his heart to him. He was only 12 but the great man of God was surprised and impressed.

After a brief preparation, he received Baptism and Confirmation. Gabriel was happy to finally be a full son of God and a Brother of Jesus Christ in  the Catholic Church.

When Gabriel received Holy Communion for the first time his joy was unbounded.

He was burning with zeal to make Jesus Christ known in the world as the "Crucified Saviour" in the Blessed Sacrament.

He had one burning desire and that was to participate in the "Holy Sacrifice of the Mass" and receive "Holy Communion" not only on Sundays but every day if it was possible.

Monsignor Massaia inducted him among his collaborators and sent him as an apostle among the "Kaffas in the Ghera".

Collaborator and Missionary :

In his "preaching", Gabriel proclaimed Jesus Christ and his work of redemption through his passion and death on the cross. He spoke of the "Catholic Christian Life" lived according to the 10 commandments and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Devotion to the Madonna, Imitation of Her, and the Saints.

When he spoke, they listened to him, the little ones and the elders. Many were converted to Jesus Christ not only because of what he said, but more specially because of his example.

Great Light and Strength came to him from the "Holy Eucharist" that he began to receive more frequently. He developed a deep horror for sin that he knew offended God and degraded man.

One day, some people came with a request that he evangelize the people of Afallo. Gabriel immediately instructed the messengers in the Catholic Faith, speaking to them for 24 consecutive hours. After that, he left for Afallo where he began to work miracles.

Union with Jesus Christ :

Indeed, Gabriel was consumed by a love for Jesus Christ. At a certain point, his health began to deteriorate very quickly. Not even, the care and solicitude of Monsignor Massaia had any effect. He passed away in July 1859, at the age of 16.

Conclusion :

At his funeral, even the pagans from several tribes came to pay their homage. By his life and by his words, and finally by his own death he proclaimed that Jesus Christ was the "Only Saviour'. He believed this passionately and preached it fervently.

Credits and References :

"The Dark Angel of Ethiopia"
Gabriel Ghirba by Claudio Russo
Pages 12-14
Don Bosco's Madonna, Mumbai
February 2007
Vol--8, N0-10


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