“I count on your prayers”: Catholic Bishop in Ethiopia at Episcopal Ordination

Bishop Teshome Fikre Woldetensae. Credit: Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Ethiopia (CBCE)

The Coadjutor Bishop of the Eparchy of Emdeber in Ethiopia has said he is counting on the prayers of the people of God to succeed in his Episcopal Ministry.

In a speech shared with ACI Africa Wednesday, February 21, Bishop Teshome Fikre Woldetensae said he is starting his ministry in the footsteps of Christ the Good Shepherd.

“God's mercy and goodness have given me this great pastoral responsibility of our church through Pope Francis,” Bishop Fikre said in the speech that was delivered during his Episcopal Ordination on February 11.

He said, “I count on your prayers and accept this pastoral responsibility with hope and joy. I move forward relying on the prayers of the saints, and the help of our Lord.”

“Like the cloud above us, I believe that the prayers and blessings of our fathers, our mothers, especially the Holy Father and other holy Priests, virgins, and laymen, are with me and the Church entrusted to me,” the former Secretary General of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Ethiopia (CBCE) said.


He said, “Ever since Pope Francis elected me as successor Bishop, many brothers and sisters from home and abroad have been with me in prayer by phone and mail.”

“They have opened the door for me to serve the church, so go, God will be with you. They have generously given me to the church for my call to be strong. Your faith and your love for the Church have become the cornerstone of my priestly life,” Bishop Fikre said.

Pope Francis appointed Bishop Fikre as the Coadjutor Bishop of the Eparchy of Emdeber in the Horn of Africa nation on 16 December 2023.

Born in June 1972 in Guraghe, he was ordained a Priest for the Eparchy of Emdeber in January 1998.

In his speech during the February Episcopal Ordination, Bishop Fikre underscored the importance of togetherness and collaboration in the Ethiopian Episcopal See.

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“Together we have accepted the responsibility to serve this flock of God in love. When I accepted this responsibility, I thought of the words of Jesus in John 21:15, Feed my sheep,” he said.

Bishop Fikre said that the good shepherd “lays down his life for his sheep, leads them to the right path, hears their voice, catches their smell, seeks the lost, restores the lost, strengthens the weak, feeds the hungry, comforts the broken, raises the fallen.”

He said, “The Catholic Church in this area is a church shaped by the conscience of the people. It is the church that the people believe in and respect.”

Reflecting on the centenary of evangelisation in Ethiopia, the coadjutor Bishop said, “Our wish is that this church in Ethiopia, according to the one-year apostolic plan, is devoted to teaching the word of God and performing true worship, who puts her hope and faith only in God, who shows the true way of God, who produces disciples, who, born from her faith, serves all the children of God with equal dignity, who shapes the conscience of the society.”

He added, “It is to make the church that works in absolute peace and unity with the elders of the country and the government structures at all levels.”


Bishop Fikre is to assist 74-year-old Bishop Musie Ghebreghiorghis who has been at the helm of Emdeber Eparchy since February 2004.

With the right to succeed Bishop Ghebreghiorghis, the Coadjutor Bishop-elect is to serve as the immediate collaborator of the Eritrean-born member of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin (OFMCap) in the Eparchy. 

In his homily during the Episcopal ordination, Berhaneyesus Demerew Cardinal Souraphiel reminded the Bishop-elect that the responsibilities of a Bishop is to preach and spread the Gospel of the Lord both in convenient and unfavorable times.

He pledged his solidarity with the new Bishop. Promising to help him with prayers to fulfill his responsibilities.

Emdeber Eparchy that was erected in November 2003 with territory taken from the Metropolitan Archeparchy of Addis Ababa measures 12,000 square-kilometer with a population of 27,070 Catholics representing six percent of the total population, according to the 2021 statistics.

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