05 Nov Opening of St. Mary of the Angels Fraternity, Juba, South Sudan
The friars in Juba, South Sudan have marked a significant milestone in their mission with the blessing and official opening of their new friary. Located on church property within the compound of the parish church, construction began in early February this year and proceeded with no major problems. Then, on October 26th 2015, the friars were joined by parishioners of Holy Trinity Parish where they minister, several local religious, and Bishop Santo Loku Pio, Auxiliary Bishop of Juba Archdiocese, who officiated at the blessing ceremony. He spoke of the residence as a significant development in the presence of the friars in South Sudan, referring to it as a place where the Franciscan spirit can make its home among the local people by being a place of welcome and openness to others. Gathered under an icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a part of the fresco of the church of the Portiuncula, all prayed that this place will also be one where the Angels of God will feel at home and offer their protection to all who reside here.
Following the prayer and homily, Bishop Santo, accompanied by the friars, moved through the house and around the outside of the house, blessing it with holy water. Following this, the assembly moved on to the parish church where they celebrated Eucharist for the Youth Day of the parish who had adopted Blessed Contardo Ferrini as their patron. Afterwards, the new friary hosted lunch for many of the visitors and an afternoon program of entertainment followed.
The new friary has eight bedrooms and will be able to accommodate not only the existing fraternity, but also welcome visitors and accept a limited number of candidates for the discernment of their vocation to the Franciscan life. It also includes a Parish office and a large room to be used as a classroom and a meeting room for parishioners.