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Field Visit Report on Summer Feeding Project to 34 Parishes in Adigrat Eparchy, Ethiopia

Following individual parish activities, a zone-level festival was organized to allow children of different parishes to come together, get acquainted with each other and create positive competition among parishes.

At the zone level festival, different programs were planned, including question and answer competition, sports, spiritual music concerts and catechism programs. Sports and question and answer competitions among the parishes in the same zones were so high, eagerness to learn and active involvement of the youth in all the activities were amazing. All the 7 zones of the eparchy conducted similar activities from 1-3 times in the summer. The festivals have given an opportunity to all the youth to share experiences, learn from each other, develop friendship and deepen their faith.

Towards the end of the summer program, a youth festival at the diocesan level was organized for three days from 3-5 September 2017. CNEWA’s Program Officer for the Addis Ababa office has animated this festival and captured some discussions with concerned people at various levels. From the 34 parishes of the Eparchy and 4 camps within the Eparchy that host the majority of Eritrean refugees, 570 young people were gathered for the annual youth festival at the Adigrat Holy Savior Cathedral compound.

On 3 September 2017, Sunday evening, youth representatives of all parishes arrived in Adigrat. Adigrat is the center of the eparchy and the residence of the local ordinary. A warm welcome was given by Abune Tesfaselassie Medhin, Eparch of Adigrat, Fr. Negasi, and youth representatives of the cathedral. Accommodations were prepared ahead of time so that all participants got their designated places for the days of the program. Evening prayers and blessings were given by the Bishop. The festival program was organized by Fr. Negasi.

The cathedral compound was colorfully decorated with different pieces of cloth, a big banner with the theme of the festival — “You, young man, what do you have on your hands? Use it for your benefit and for the glory of God” — was posted high at the entrance of the multipurpose hall, and different quotations conveying different messages related to the y0outh and their spiritual lives were displayed inside and outside of the hall.

Mr. Tarekegn closely and attentively followed all the sessions of the festival. He also raised questions and discussed with different participants and organizers of the festival concerning the importance of the festivals and related feeding programs. Many of them were excited and they expressed their gratitude to CNEWA. Unanimously, they underlined the spiritual and bodily benefits of all the programs for the children of their respective parishes. All the programs at various levels were so engaging to everybody.

At the festival, different activities were performed by zone representatives; they performed different dramas that touched on the daily lives of the youth, presented spiritual poems, and conducted biblical question and answer competitions. Lessons on biblical topics and church history were given by professors from the Major Seminary andelderly priests and lay people shared their life experiences; at each interval, each zone chanted spiritual songs.

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