Africa could get a new country in 2011; or an old country could be torn apart by strife.
On January 9th, up to eight million Sudanese in the south could vote to decide whether to stay united with the north or to secede and become independent.
The south is slowly being rebuilt after decades of war ended in 2005. People who fled came back to their destroyed houses and their lands. Many of these people are hoping for a new country as the next step in the long road to peace.
But peace is fragile, with reports of conflict throughout the south. If war returns, the outcome could be disastrous for the lives of millions.
Caritas thinks that if people have the instruments for peace then they will take that path rather than one of violence. In the run up to the referendum, we will be working with local communities in South Sudan to lay the groundwork for a peaceful referendum.
Along with the bishops of Sudan, we ask you to join our prayer campaign and to take a moment each day to pray for the people of Sudan and the challenges and possibilities that lie ahead of them in the hope that they will achieve a lasting peace.