James Jeffrey

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August 31, 2017
The Camino de Santiago across the mighty pastoral breadth of northern Spain is no normal pilgrimage. Far from it: non-believers appear to outnumber believers. Then there is the contradictory character of it all: a mind-boggling mixture of the sacred and profane, spanning candle-lighting in Baroque churches and incantations from Spanish priests, to lusty fiestas and
June 01, 2017
Ethiopia is one of the earliest cradles of Christianity, the second nation after Armenia to adopt Christianity as a state religion. But Catholics have struggled here ever since seismic events in the early 17th century crushed their burgeoning religion in this most religious land. Eventually Catholics made a small comeback, but nowadays devotees of the
February 23, 2017
Addis Ababa Escaping my cramped, clammy hotel room in Djibouti just wasn’t possible one evening. I sorely wanted to – this Horn of Africa coastal port is an intriguing place to wander as a journalist – and no one was stopping me. No one, that is, except the cast of the 1980s Brideshead Revisited television
November 03, 2016
On a seemingly relaxing Sunday afternoon at an Ethiopian friend’s house, I received a phone call with news that earlier that day more than 100 people had drowned or been crushed to death. A stampede had ensued at an annual festival – to which I’d been invited with the press pack – after protesters and
August 11, 2016
As tears emerge behind the slit of 20-year-old Gada’s black face veil, Marianne Vecchione, a Catholic missionary, reaches over and clasps her hand in both of hers. After more than a minute’s silence, Gada still can’t answer the question: “How bad was it in Yemen before you left?” Escalation of the war there led to
June 23, 2016
Hargeisa, Somaliland Friday in Somaliland is the weekly holiday in the Islamic calendar, but on one particular Friday a Catholic priest remained busy at work in the capital, Hargeisa. Fr Tom Donovan was sweeping the floor of the recently renovated St Anthony’s Church in preparation for the following big day: the first Mass for his