The Acts of the Apostles recounts that one of the first converts to Christianity was Ethiopian. Already in the fourth century Ethiopia declared the Catholic faith an official religion — one of the first countries to do so. Today, however, Catholics are less than 1% of the total population. Despite their small numbers, they are managing as much as 90% of the nation’s social programs.

In this interview with Bishop Rodrigo Mejía Saldarriaga, apostolic vicar of Soddo-Hosanna, the prelate explains the Church’s service work to the television program “Where God Weeps” of the Catholic Radio and Television Network (CRTN) in cooperation with Aid to the Church in Need.

Q: You were born, raised and ordained in Colombia. How do you find yourself in Ethiopia?

Bishop Mejía: I arrived first in Africa in 1963, not to Ethiopia, but to the Congo, the ex-Belgian Congo at that time, where I worked for around 20 years. Then I moved to Kenya where I worked as a missionary for 14 years, and now I’ve been in Ethiopia for more than 10 years.