Call from South Sudan
Add Your Heading Text HereThree young confreres in South Sudan to start a Missionaries of Africa community
Cletus Atindaana, Innocent Iranzi and Jean Dieudonné Mohamadi Nare landed in Juba on Tuesday, October 19, to begin a Missionary of Africa community in the Diocese of Malakal, South Sudan. They were thus formalizing their response to the call launched especially to the young confreres by the General Council on November 23, 2020 for the mission in the youngest country of Africa. In Juba they were welcomed by our confrere Jim Green, the only missionary of Africa in the country so far and who is serving ‘Solidarity with South Sudan.’
The idea of a return to South Sudan came about in the General Council during the 150-year jubilee commemorations. From the very beginning of the reflection on the jubilee, the General Council sought to commemorate the event also with gestures worthy of our founder by committing ourselves to our missionary vocation. When it was decided to celebrate the closing of the jubilee in Uganda, we, together with our Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Africa, decided to go on a visit of solidarity to the Church that our elders in the mission had established in this country which today is facing the influx of hundreds of thousands of South Sudanese refugees. From the visit was born our commitment to give a strong hand to the Diocese of Arua in its apostolate with the refugees. Three confreres have been appointed. One is already there with two sisters. The other two confreres have been there and will join the third one soon.
The call from South Sudan rang loudest when Father Stephen Nyodho Ador, then newly appointed bishop of the Diocese of Malakal, stopped by at the Generalate one day in July 2019 to ask for additional personnel for his diocese. Having recalled how our confreres had gone to his diocese in the 1980s but unfortunately without settling there, he reiterated the invitation to the Society for a missionary presence among populations hard hit by the conflict that erupted in South Sudan in 2013 and which was still a source of great suffering until the latest peace agreement signed in 2019 which saw the advent of a government of national unity.
In March of this year, Martin Grenier, Assistant General, Aloysius Ssekamatte, Provincial of EAP, and I left to bring a message of solidarity to the Church of the Diocese of Malakal on behalf of the General Council. On our return to Rome we shared what we had seen and in council we decided to launch an appeal to the young confreres. Officially erected in 1974, the Diocese of Malakal covers the Upper Nile region, including Upper Nile, Jonglei and Unity States. It is a vast territory of 238,000 km2 with more than 5 million inhabitants of which about one million are Catholics.
Cletus, Innocent and Jean Dieudonné will begin learning Arabic at Christ the King Parish in Renk. They will then go to Jonglei State to St. Paul Parish in Bor. We entrust them to the prayers of all so that the mission in South Sudan, which had been intended many decades ago will be successful this time and that other confreres will soon follow them.
Stanley Lubungo, M.Afr