Christmas in South Sudan

Right after the birth of South Sudan, following its separation from the largest African country, Sudan, the Order of Friars Minor has wanted to open a new presence in the region. So, for about two years now, our three brothers Jesus Aguirre, Mario De Battista and Masseo Golha have been living in Juba, the capital of South Sudan. Their life and mission are simple and yet quite demanding at the same time: they live their life of prayer and fraternity as minors deeply committing themselves to the pastoral care of the many faithful spread around the capital of the new-born Country.

It is them whom the Archbishop of Juba, Msgr. Paulino Lukudu Loro, M.C.C.J., has entrusted with the custody of the Parrish of the Holy Trinity, set in a suburban area of the city, with some ten branches located up to 75 km away from the parish church. People are extremely poor and bear the sores of internal, tribal conflicts which made them really miserable and subject to the constant terror of gunfights and vexations.

This Christmas 2014, our three brothers received the joy of welcoming fr. Nicodemo Kibuzehos, Definitor general, and fr. Massimo Tedoldi, Secretary general for missions and Evangelization, who have wished to bring to them, from Rome, the affection of the Minister general and of the whole Order, together with the highest consideration for their courageous testimony. The two bothers from the Roman Curia have anticipated the arrival of two new missionaries for South Sudan, namely: fr. Federico Gandolfi, from the Province of Rome and fr. Marco Freddi from the Province of Assisi, who will be arriving already mid-January 2015.

These Christmas days were lived in the warmth of fraternity and in the service to brothers and sisters living in the outskirts, down in the desert steppe characterizing the region. Here, next to the miserable thatched huts, in the joyful celebrations of many poor people, Jesus was born, therein recognizing the stall of Bethlehem.