Catholic Church in Ethiopia

… work in progress …


The first Catholic missionaries started their activities in Southern Ethiopia about one hundred years ago (Fa. Pascal of Luchon and others).

The Apostolic Vicariates of Soddo (Wolaytta), Awasa and Hossana are the numerically strongest in the country. They follow the Roman rite. Several of their centers are located in rural areas (Wassera, etc.). These circumstances were conducive for the creation of vernacular gopsel songs.

The first original songs in Hadiyyisa seem to have been written shortly after Vatican II Council (until 1965) by Catechist (then Deacon) Wolde N. from Saddama. The French Cappuchin Priest at the station then was Fa. René. The Apostolic Administrator in Hossana until 1972, Bishop Urbain-Marie Person, opposed clapping and dancing; antiphonal singing was also not adopted by Catholics in the area. Generally speaking, in Catholic congregations choirs were (and are) preferred to solo singers. In the 2000s, one of the best-known Catholic song writers in the Hadiyya area was Tireeza Jikkore.


(Hossana, 2020)
(Bethel Singers, 2020)

» Watch clip of Catholic Choir of Kebena, Addis Ababa, 2012

The Catholics in the northern part of Ethiopia as well as in Eritrea use the (Oriental) Alexandrian liturgical rite.

YouTube Channels

» Visit the YouTube channel Catholic Mezmur




Isaack Haile (Borana)


For further reading

Antonios Alberto (2013). A Modern and Contemporary History of the Catholic Church in Ethiopia (16th – 20th Centuries). (Ethiopian Review of Cultures, 6). Addis Ababa: Capuchin Franciscan Institute of Philosophy and Theology.


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