KHARTOUM, Sudan (CNS) — War in South Sudan has robbed young people of their childhood and given them challenges unknown to their peers in most other countries, said the head of the Sudan Catholic Bishops’ Conference.
“My heart breaks at the thought that your childhoods are being taken away from you daily, but I know that you have not lost your vision or your hope for a better future,” Bishop Edward Hiiboro Kussala of Tombura-Yambio, South Sudan, said in a Sept. 21 statement to mark International Day for Peace.
The bishops’ conference includes all dioceses in Sudan and South Sudan, which split in 2011, when South Sudan became the world’s newest country. Barely three years after its independence from Sudan, a power struggle pitting President Salva Kiir and his former deputy, Riek Machar, plunged South Sudan into civil war. The war has killed thousands, displaced nearly 1 million people, ignited a man-made famine and destroyed the country’s economy.
In South Sudan and Sudan, it is “necessary for us to stop awhile” and “invite peace into our hearts, because we have lost everything to wars,” Bishop Kussala said.
Addressing young people, the bishop said that in the past few years, he has had “the bittersweet privilege to witness how quickly you grew, and how quickly you matured.”
The killings and incessant fighting that have plagued South Sudan “have changed you,” he said, noting that he feels young people’s frustrations, which are evident on their faces, in their voices, in what they sing and in what they write on social media.
“It takes a lot of courage to take the first step, where our parents and elders have, sadly, failed,” Bishop Kussala said.
“Unlike you, we are entrenched in our old habits, prejudices, hate, injustices, and even pettiness, and it is not easy to let go of our selfishness, for it is how we have been able to survive and preserve ourselves in these dark times,” he said.
“But now it is time to look forward and we, living in a small country, can do that together,” he said. South Sudan has a population of 12 million people.
A preparatory process is currently underway for the 2018 Synod of Bishops on “young people, faith and vocational discernment.”
Help us keep you informed -- CatholicPhilly.com can't do it with youDuring CatholicPhilly.com's fall donation campaign, you have a way to help us deliver the kind of news you need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live. Every household's costs keep rising, and we're no different. We make sure your dollars in any amount go a long way toward continuing our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month. Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can -- a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Or by credit card here: