Missionary of Africa for Solidarity with South Sudan

Jim (James) Greene is a Missionary of Africa born in Ireland on the 27th July 1960. Ordained to the priesthood on the 2nd July 1988 after completing his theological formation in Totteridge, he started his missionary life in Malawi until mid-1997 when he became the Treasurer of the Province of Ireland (today one of the sectors of the European province). In 2002, he returns to Malawi, with a strong interest for Justice & Peace. Delegate to the Chapter of 2004, he is elected Assistant to the Superior General. After a sabbatical in Chigaco, he is appointed to Jerusalem as treasurer in 2011. Since January 2019, he is the executive director of the project “Solidarity South Sudan”.

A word from Jim

I arrived in Juba, South Sudan on the 26th January to join a team of about 30 religious, male and female who are working with the project called ‘Solidarity with South Sudan’. This is an initiative of the USG/UISG (male and female religious congregations) which started after an appeal for assistance by the bishops of South Sudan. 

Seeing the enormity of the challenges in what was then Southern Sudan, over 200 congregations decided to pool their resources together, both financial and personnel. Many congregations do not have personnel to offer to this initiative but presently about 18 congregations are represented on the ground in South Sudan, while many more contribute in other ways.

From an early stage it was recognized that ‘Solidarity with South Sudan’ could not respond to every need. With this in mind, it was decided that the emphasis would be put on training others in the areas of education, health care, pastoral services and agriculture. 

The project established teacher training centres for primary school teachers in Yambio in Western Equatoria and in Malakal in Upper Nile State. Unfortunately, due the hostilities and attacks the centre in Malakal is currently abandoned. 

The Comboni Sisters helped us establish a nursing and midwifery training centre in Wau, situated in the former state of Western Bahr el Ghazal. Coincidently, some of the present buildings were originally constructed by our deceased confrere, Hurbert Barbier in the late 1970s. For many years these buildings were occupied by internally displaced persons before being handed back to the church to start the nurses training project in 2008. 

In addition, a pastoral team was set up and trained many priests, catechists and other pastoral workers from many dioceses in the country. Given the violent history of the country, an emphasis was also put on trauma healing and trying to address some of the effects of past and present conflicts. Currently this team is in need of more members.

Solidarity seeks to witness not only through its actions but also by living in international religious communities of men and women. In a country sadly divided on the basis of ethnicity, we try to show that it is possible for women and men from different nationalities and ethnicities, to live and work together, while respecting each other’s dignity and difference.

Presently, I am the only Missionary of Africa in the country. Who knows what the future will bring? The harvest is indeed great!

Interview of Jim by Radio Vatican on 16th April 2019

Linda Bordoni of Vatican Radio interviews Father Jim Greene, Missionary of Africa, newly appointed executive director of Solidarity South Sudan. The original interview is here :  https://www.vaticannews.va/en/church/news/2019-04/solidarity-south-sudan-pope-retreat-father-greene.html

Video produced by Solidarity South Sudan last November

Testimony of Jim to the confreres in Rome

Being the only Missionary of africa in South Sudan and having to attend meetings every now and then in Rome with the board of Solidarity South Sudan, Jim is attached to the Generalate, rather than to the Easr Africa Province which, traditionally, was hosting Sudan. As he was in Rome last April, he gave his testimony to some confreres. The video he is referring to at the beginning is the one above and the power point he is referring to follows. By default, the slides moves forward every 15 seconds, but you can force them forward or backward as you are listening to Jim. Towards the end of the testimony, Jim is answering questions… which are unfortunately not audible, as the confreres did not bother waiting for the microphone. But if you are interested in the testimony, you will be able to guess what the questions were about.

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