South Sudan                                                                

Training for 21 seminarians in the diocese of Tombura-Yambio

South Sudan is the youngest country in the world today.

In 2011, when the predominantly Christian and animist South of the country finally declared its independence from the overwhelmingly Muslim North after a quarter of a century of bloody civil war, the change was initially followed with great rejoicing. But, the joy did not last. In 2013 South Sudan slipped back into a new civil war.

Once again – as in so many other countries around the world – the Church is the only institution in which the suffering people can place their trust.

Pictures of seminarians at the minor seminary St. John Paul II in Tombura Yambio

With an area of over 81,000 km² the diocese of Tombura-Yambio is almost the size of Austria! The shortage of priests here is acute; many parishes do not have any priest at all. But even where there is a priest, he has to minister to an area so vast and with so many remote and widely scattered villages that the faithful in the local communities only rarely receive the Sacraments. As a result, many Catholics die without the last rites of the Church, many children remain unbaptized and the ordinary faithful are left longing to attend Holy Mass and receive Holy Communion.

Once again – as in so many other countries around the world – the Church is the only institution in which the suffering people can place their trust.

Therefore, the most pressing concern of the diocese is to provide its future priests with a good and solid formation. For every new vocation is a sign of hope for the future. So it is a source of great joy that there are 21 young men preparing for ordination right now,  in the diocesan seminary – the downside, however, is that the Bishop has no resources to fund their training. So often the parents of the seminarians have nothing. They have lost everything due to war, being uprooted and expelled from their homes and have even watched their houses burn to the ground and lost their few possessions to looting.

A seminarian at St. John Paul II in Tombura Yambio

“We are turning to our fellow Christians, hoping you can help us to train up our seminarians, so that they can become priests and serve the suffering people in our country, and at the same time become promoters of peace,” writes the rector of the seminary to us. And his bishop supports his request with these memorable words: “I do not want to see the future of the Church crumble in my hands.” He is also asking for our help.  We have promised him 28,275 dollars

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