Spiritan Features

Spiritans in South Sudan

Help and protection

From the highs of independence in 2011, the people of South Sudan have been left with a “failed state” and the promise of more violence to come.  The main conflict is between the two largest ethnic groups: the Dinka and the Nuer, but smaller ethnic groups are now being pulled into the conflict.  In this situation people tend to turn to their churches for help and protection, and as the Catholic Church continues to be one of the few institutions that is still functioning quite well in the country, we have an important role to play in bringing hope and material help to the people.

SudanSpiritans remain in two parishes in the Diocese of Rumbek: Wulu in the North run by one Kenyan and one Tanzanian Spiritan; and Tun Aduel which is run by another of our Kenyan priests.  I am now based in Juba, the country’s capital.

UN camps for internally displaced persons

I work in two United Nations camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) which hold more than 30.000 people who fled the ethnic killings since the conflict started in 2013.  I was with the people in the camps for some of their Easter 2017 services (left) and, despite the many obstacles faced in getting church services organized, we had Masses throughout the camps on Easter Sunday morning. People really appreciate the presence of the Church as a sign that the Risen Lord is with them.

Dealing with hunger

Hunger is a big issue for the people as inflation, at over 400 per cent, is rampant. Spiritans and a number of other religious congregations have feeding programmes in schools and parishes.  

Thanks to the support of “Love of Neighbour Worldwide / NLW”, the NGO founded by Noel O’Meara C.S.Sp., and Misean Cara and as well as family and friends, we have been able to help thousands of parishioners to have at least one meal every other day. A collection of €1,500 from Kimmage Manor over Easter was most welcome. We also support those organisations that have permission to go to the famine areas which are controlled by the government.

So, in a time of war and famine, we as missionaries try to be a presence to the people – a sign that the outside world has not forgotten them and that God continues to look after them through the NGOs and Church personnel who bring food, water, medical care to them.

See also: http://www.irishcatholic.ie/article/nun-vows-%E2%80%98they%E2%80%99ll-have-shoot-us%E2%80%99