I hope that everyone in the Catholic Relief Services family will join together this month to welcome a new nation into the world community: The Republic of South Sudan.
I am traveling to Juba, its capital, for the independence day ceremonies on July 9. There I will join many CRS colleagues who worked so hard to make this day come to pass, and I will celebrate with the wonderful bishops of South Sudan who deserve great praise for their persistent effort to bring peace to their troubled land.
Desmond Tutu, when he was Anglican archbishop of South Africa, once said he was not surprised—as many were—that his country had made a peaceful transition from apartheid to democracy because “so many people all around the world were praying for us.”
The same can be said of Sudan. We know that you joined the Sudanese bishops in praying for their country in these past months. Many of you saw these bishops as they traveled to the United States, pleading their country’s case at the United Nations and in Washington, and participating in Mass in many cities, including with Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
We know that you joined the religious from all corners of the globe in Solidarity With Southern Sudan, which asked for 101 Days of Prayer leading up the January 9 referendum on secession for the south. We know that, in churches all over America, all over the world, prayers went up for peace in Sudan, prayers that were answered.
As Sudanese Bishop Eduardo Hiiboro Kussala of the Diocese of Tombura-Yambi said during a recent visit to the United States, “In the run-up to the referendum, there was much written about the bad scenarios leading to war. Because of the faith of the people, God blessed us with a peaceful referendum. And I believe, because of the people’s commitment and faith, we can build a Sudan of peace.”
Certainly your prayers are still needed. There has been too much recent violence, particularly in the border areas between the Republic of the Sudan to the north and the new Republic of South Sudan. The violence in the Nuba Mountains in South Kordofan needs the full attention of the international community. Though a far cry from the full-scale civil war that so many feared, it is still a real threat to this new nation.
The Catholic Church in Sudan is inviting all people of goodwill to take part in 9 days of prayer for the future of the new state before the July 9 ceremony. The Church’s prayer ends with these words:
Unite us from every tribe, tongue and people.
Send your Holy Spirit upon us, and may your will be done in us.
God, bless our new nation; bless the Republic of South Sudan; bless also the Republic of Sudan.
In Jesus’ name, we pray.
Even if all were perfectly peaceful, South Sudan would need your prayerful concern for years to come. It is devastated after years of fighting and neglect. It has few paved roads. Access to clean water and good sanitation is limited. Medical care is rudimentary. Educational opportunities are scarce.
At CRS, we are committed to staying with South Sudan in the years and decades to come as it finds its path among the nations of the world. It will not be an easy trip. There will be plenty of bumps in the road. There will be unexpected twists and turns, probably a detour or two. But it is a journey we are committed to make.
We will make it with the Sudanese Church, which stood as a bulwark during the decades of war, then led the way to peace on every level—local, national and international. The faith of the people of South Sudan gives them that most important commodity: hope.
Please join us as we work to nurture, preserve and grow that hope into the peace and prosperity that the people of Sudan, north and south, so richly deserve.
As an infant, Bishop Kussala was spared when soldiers invaded his family’s home and killed his mother and sister. Now, 47 years later, he came to the United States both to give thanks for past support and to ask for continued help in the future.
“The legacy of a peaceful, dignified and free Sudan will be both yours and ours,” he says. “God bless you all.”
Thank you for your continued support.
One Response to “Stay With Sudan”
Leave a Comment
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.