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Sudan and South Sudan Foundation conducted its first-ever General Assembly

Br. Dennis Tayo visited the Foundation St Francis of Assisi

15 January 2024

On January 12, 2022, both houses of Khartoum and Juba were jointly established as St Francis of Assisi Foundation in Sudan and S. Sudan, an entity dependent under the care of the Minister General. A year after, the civil war broke out in Sudan in April of 2023. The friars in Khartoum were forced to seek refuge in Juba, S. Sudan. Today, after eight months of living together, the inevitability of a prolonged war in Sudan (projected to extend for two years or more) causes more uncertainties and restlessness among the friars. “What will tomorrow bring” for the brothers in the Foundation? Searching for direction, the friars were led to introspect on these questions: Where are we now? Why are we here? Where do we want to go? How do we get there? 

With the promptings of the Minister General and his Delegate to the Foundation, Br Dennis Tupas Tayo arrived on January 3, 2024, in Juba to facilitate the Foundation’s first-ever  General Assembly, two years after its erection. He guided the friars to do a critical evaluation and strategic planning on the life, formation, and missions of the Foundation. Hence, from January 4 - 8, 2024, nine friars journeyed together in formulating the Vision, Mission, and Core Values as well as the Foundation’s Organizational Structure, tasking possible friars to assume the posts. Moreover, they crafted and ratified the draft of the Foundation’s Particular Statute. All of these were submitted to Br Massimo Fusarelli and his General Definitory for approval and eventual implementation in the Foundation. 

In doing the critical evaluation, the brothers reflected on their weaknesses and strengths as an international missionary community. They also examined the opportunities and threats of their external realities in the foundation. Openly, they shared each other’s outlooks and aspirations, difficulties, and frustrations, fraternal confrontations, leveling of expectations, and compromises toward a common path for the foundation. Amidst difficulties and struggles,  the brothers with renewed fervor “embraced the journey and bloomed like a lotus,” crystallizing 19 Assembly Resolutions of concrete activities to achieve their goals.

Among others, they realized the urgent need for formulating a Project of Life, and animation guidelines in both the formation and in existing missionary evangelizing ministries of the foundation. They also recognized the importance of systematizing and humanizing the basic assistance given to street children in Juba. Moreover, visiting and listening to the cries of Sudanese war refugees camped in Gorom (a locality covered under our parish in Juba), the friars saw the relevance of initiating concrete assistance to 14,000 families, now living in extreme difficulties. Furthermore, the friars are discerning of expanding their horizons to the needs of the Diocese of Wau, S. Sudan. Br Dennis and Br Peter Tindo (President of the Foundation) flew and visited Wau, to see the realities of the three parishes offered by the bishop. The results obtained were thereafter discussed in the assembly to discern which parish is the most feasible choice while identifying important considerations in accepting the offer. 

Finally, amidst war-torn realities and uncertainties they find themselves in, the friars face the year 2024 with a wider horizon, invigorated with a unified direction to achieve their goals, hopeful that, like a lotus “in muddy waters, beauty blooms the more!”                                                                                                               

Br Dennis Tupas Tayo, OFM
General Animator for Missions

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