Free at Last: How Catholics in South Sudan Are Helping to Build a New Nation

By Jeffrey, Paul | U.S. Catholic, December 2011 | Go to article overview

Free at Last: How Catholics in South Sudan Are Helping to Build a New Nation


Jeffrey, Paul, U.S. Catholic


On July 9, as Father Callistus Joseph watched the flag of independent South Sudan rise for first time over the dusty capital city of Juba, he felt privileged to be present at the birth of the world's newest nation.

"The exuberant joy of the people was expressed in the tears rolling down their faces when the flag was hoisted," says Joseph, a Claretian priest from Sri Lanka who coordinates the Juba office of Solidarity with South Sudan, an international network of more than 170 religious congregations that provides training in education, health, and pastoral ministry.

"All I could do was bow in respect to a people that has endured long years of war, paying with 2 million lives to receive this great gift of freedom, he says.

The independence celebration came after citizens had voted in January to secede from the north, a move backed by Sudan's Catholic leaders.

"We southerners have lived for too many years without independence and freedom," Father Thomas Bagbiowia, a parish priest in the new country's Western Equatoria State, said last November in the run-up to the independence vote. "It's time we decide our own destiny. We've lived under fear of a centralized government that did nothing for the economic development of our region. Khartoum [the capital of northern Sudan] today is a modern city, but here in the south we don't even have roads."

Yet while July's independence celebration promised southerners freedom from oppressive rule by Khartoum, it has also set off a chain of political and military developments that have again placed the region on the brink of outright civil war.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The post-independence violence has come as no surprise to Bishop Eduardo Hiiboro Kussala of the Tombura-Yambio diocese. "For our neighbors in northern Sudan, separation is not going to be a cup of tea," he predicted last December. "They are not happy about it. They say, 'OK, you are breaking away, so we're going to make sure you don't have peace.' They will use different ethnic groups here, giving money to one in order to put it at war with another."

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

To assure that political independence will lead to real change, the bishop said the church would need to redouble its efforts to build peace at the grassroots.

"My mother was killed by northern government soldiers when I was just two months old," Hiiboro said. "I don't want to see another baby losing its mother in the same way. If I have any power to promote a cukure of harmony and peace, I will do it."

Many tribes, one nation

The Sudan Catholic Bishops' Conference issued a statement in September supporting this call for unity and peaceful coexistence. "As we said in our season of prayer for independence, South Sudan must be 'one nation from every tribe, tongue, and people.' This is a shared responsibility, not just for the government," the bishops wrote.

Father Joseph of Solidarity with South Sudan says his group is committed to helping the church assume that responsibility. "As we contribute to nation-building with our training programs, the people of South Sudan show us how to know and love God," he says. "Their communal spirit, sharing the bare minimum they have, their simplicity and endurance in times of trouble, and their willingness to start anew have touched the core of who we are."

In 2005, with decades of civil war about to end, Sudan's bishops' conference invited religious congregations to help rebuild the church and reweave the social fabric of a terrorized land. The congregations that responded formed Solidarity with South Sudan and decided to focus on building capacity. Today Solidarity volunteers from around the world are training teachers, nurses, and pastoral agents in five communities across the country.

Part of Solidarity's success, according to Joseph, is that it leverages the contributions of many different congregations into one united effort.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Free at Last: How Catholics in South Sudan Are Helping to Build a New Nation
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.