By Laura Ieraci • Catholic News Service • Posted March 21, 2017

CHICAGO (CNS) — Two weeks before arriving in Ohio on a nationwide pastoral visit, Bishop Fikremariam Hagos Tsalim of the Eparchy of Segheneity, Eritrea, got word that eight young people from his eparchy died trying to make their way to Europe in search of a better life.

It’s an all-too-common story, Bishop Tsalim told Horizons, newspaper of the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Parma, Ohio, March 7.

About 190 Eritreans died trying to cross into Europe in February alone, he said. The poor migrants usually make their way to Libya, where traffickers demand steep fees to herd them onto a raft that will set sail to southern Italy. Too often the shabby rafts sink in the Mediterranean Sea and the migrants perish.

Bishop Tsalim, 46, was at St. John Chrysostom Parish in Columbus, Ohio, in early March visiting the Eritrean Catholic diaspora who have been worshipping with the Byzantine Catholic community since 2014. He is the first bishop of the Segheneity Eparchy, which was established in 2012.

The bishop’s U.S. visit was his second in five years to raise funds for pastoral projects, including the construction of a chancery and a bishop’s residence. Plans to build a high school are on hold as the eparchy awaits a government permit to break ground, he said.


Teachings of Christ

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6 ESV)

Lenten Prayer of St. Ephrem

O Lord and Master of my life, drive away from me the spirit of despondency, carelessness, love of power, and idle chatter. (Prostration)

Rather grant to me, Your servant, the spirit of wholeness of being, humility, patience, and love. (Prostration)

Yes, O Lord and King, grant that I may see my own faults and not condemn my brother; for You are blessed to the ages of ages. Amen. (Prostration)

Random Proverb

"My son, do not despise the Lord's discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights." (Proverbs 3:11,12 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Therefore let us leave untouched the senseless speculations of the masses and the false doctrines, and turn to the teaching delivered to us in the beginning, let us be temperate and ready for our prayers, persevere in fasting, and fervently implore the All-seeing God not to expose us to temptations, since the Lord has said: 'The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.'

St. Polycarp, Epistle to the Philippians