The Sudanese Catholic Bishop's Conference in South Sudan (SCBC-SS) has launched a programme of prayer and action leading up to independence of South Sudan on 9th July 2011.

As part of programme of prayer and activities leading upto the independence for South Sudan on 9 July, the Sudanese Catholic Church will be blessing and planting trees of life to mark Pentecost this Sunday 12 June.

Each diocese will plant a tree as a symbol of new birth. From Sunday until independence day, families, institutions, schools and parishes are being encouraged to plant trees.

The Sudan Catholic Bishops’ Conference in South Sudan says, “We, as the people of South Sudan symbolically plant trees throughout our new country. Some of these trees will produce medicine, a sign of healing from trauma and war; some of the trees will give fruit, signs of hope and promise.

“As we plant these trees, we ask God to bless us and all of creation.”

Bishop Eduardo Hiiboro Kussala of Tombura-Yambio has been helping to organise the initiative. He said, “The planting of trees is very meaningful, trees have life and also grow so slowly and can live for many years. The young plants need care, love, healthy conditions in order to grow. We see that for the young nation to grow and take root it needs good hands, conditions, love and care.

“The Pentcost is the birth of the church, the begining of the life of the church, the young church needed discernment, care, love, work and dedication. Pentcost gives life varieties of types of trees and unites all as one people.”
Among the activities planned, there will be a worldwide novena (nine days of prayer), a workshop on Catholic social teaching in August, a symposium on the church in South Sudan, past, present and future in October, and cultural events towards the end of 2011.
Caritas.org will be publishing the novena and a special prayer, and featuring reports of all the events from its communications staff on the ground.