July 12, 2011

South Sudan celebrates independence

By |12 July 2011|

Mass in South Sudan for a new nation

By |11 July 2011|

A day after the people of South Sudan came together to declare their independence, they converged on St. Teresa Cathedral of Juba, South Sudan’s capital, on July 10th to celebrate a special Mass dedicated to their new nationhood.

Happy Birthday South Sudan

By |10 July 2011|

By Kim Pozniak Just six months after Southern Sudanese voted with an overwhelming majority to secede from the North, the new nation of South Sudan was born. Southern Sudanese turned out in the hundreds of thousands to witness the declaration of Independence of the Republic of South Sudan, and to celebrate a milestone they had been waiting for since a 2005 peace agreement that gave them the right to vote on whether to stay united with the north or form their own nation. People from all over Southern Sudan came to see first-hand the birth of a new nation this July 9. Some said they traveled for days to make it to the capital in time for the celebrations. “I’m very happy today,” said Alfred Gore Dimitri, who had come with his family to witness the celebration in South Sudan’s capital, Juba. “I’ve been celebrating since yesterday.” Also in attendance at the celebration [...]

Q&A on South Sudan

By |9 July 2011|

What happens on 9 July 2011?  Decades of North-South conflict in Sudan came to an end in 2005 with the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). One of the most important CPA provisions was a referendum on possible secession of the South. The referendum took place in January 2011, and the overwhelming majority of southerners (99%) voted for independence. The secession process will be finalised on the 9 July 2011, when new Republic of South Sudan will be officially declared. What will be the main challenges?  Civil war in Sudan took more than two million lives and caused displacement of around five million people. This prevented any progress to take place, infrastructure is severely underdeveloped and access to any services (health, education and water and sanitation) is extremely limited. The situation is particularly dire in the South. As the newly emergent Republic of South Sudan looks to its future, the challenges are [...]

Calendar of Church events on South Sudan independence

By |9 July 2011|

A calendar of events for the spiritual preparation celebrating of the independence of South Sudan on 9 July 2011. The bishops of Sudan have asked for parishes throughout the world and people of all faiths to join them in praying for peace. Saturday, 28 May Eucharistic procession and launch of the campaign Sunday, 29 May Day of Reconciliation: Preaching on reconciliation at all levels. Mending differences through human dignity with events such as washing of the feet, lighting a candle and prayers of the faithful. Monday, 6 June Schools programme: School children and young people in song, with poems and drawing competitions on the theme of independence, new life, peace and reconciliation. Saturday, 11 June Pentecost Vigil: Adoration gratitude and petition for the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Sunday, 12 June Pentecost celebrations. A tree is planted in each diocese as a symbol of new birth. From this day onwards till 9 July, families, institutions, schools, parishes are [...]
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    Day of prayer and cleaning as independence awaits South Sudan

Day of prayer and cleaning as independence awaits South Sudan

By |8 July 2011|

By Sara Fajardo Women bent over handmade brooms sweep the streets of southern Sudan’s capital of Juba free of dust each morning. On the few miles of paved city roads, concrete road dividers are brightened with freshly planted flowers and saplings. The entry gates of buildings and homes boast fresh green paint. The rows of robust trees along the road that houses the majority of southern Sudan’s Ministry offices are adorned with bright white banners that read “Happy Independent Day.” Everywhere there are signs of Juba preparing to be ushered in as the world’s newest nation. Even the electoral countdown clock that once ticked away the hours left for southern Sudanese to cast their ballot for self-determination has been reconfigured to flash stats of the Republic of South Sudan’s pending nationhood: “East Africa’s newest nation #6, the United Nation’s Country #193 , Africa’s Youngest Nation.” Recycling bins and newly minted trash cans [...]

Supporting half a million people in Darfur

By |7 July 2011|

Community centres are drawing in more displaced people in Darfur, giving them stronger bonds while also teaching them practical skills as many enter their eighth year of living in relief camps. Although Darfur has all but disappeared from the headlines, fighting worsened in 2010, with an additional 250,000 people displaced from their homes. In the Bilel camp, building and welding is taught at the community centre. David Kat, the Adult Education Officer there says the skills are taken back into the camp and shared: “The men become trainers themselves. They can also try for jobs in town and look beyond the narrow confines of the camp.” In 2010, Caritas Internationalis provided half million people with assistance, working in cooperation with the Action by Churches Together (ACT), an alliance of Protestant and Orthodox Christian agencies. Since 2004, Caritas and its partners have raised $90 million for the people of Darfur. Caritas member [...]

South Sudan: Preparing for independence

By |7 July 2011|

By Kim Pozniak When I arrived in South Sudan’s future capital Juba yesterday, the joyous preparations for independence were immediately apparent. Landing at the airport, another passenger pointed out the newly installed lights along the runway to allow for night flights. Everywhere you look there are small signs of progress. Driving along Juba’s bumpy, dusty roads, you see women cleaning the streets. Signs for the long expected independence have been put up along small storefronts, on crumbling walls and white washed tree trunks. Spending my first day in Juba, I spoke with many people about their hopes and dreams for the new nation. I want to tell you about two of them. Taban Benneth, 25, works as a driver for Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and plans to see the celebrations firsthand so he can tell his children and grandchildren that he was there when the flag was raised for the first time. “I’m really happy [...]

Southern Sudan votes for peace

By |7 July 2011|

Fighting in southern Sudan only ended five years ago after more than three decades of war. Many people knew only conflict. “ We have to work at all levels and across all areas to build a sustainable peace,” says Paul Nantulya, an expert in peacebuilding in southern Sudan with one of the American Caritas members, CRS. “ The churches are the peacebuilding architecture on which everything rests in southern Sudan; they have deep institutional memory, knowledge and skills. We have built ‘people-to-people’ diplomacy and discussion from the grassroots, to the military, to the top political leadership. Crucially, we have invested in giving people training and livelihoods, which makes them less likely to pick up a gun again.” Duku Martin John was one of many young men who had known nothing but war. Now he’s the host of “One People”, a radio show about reconciliation which is supported by the Sudan Catholic [...]

Delivering help in Sudan

By |6 July 2011|

Andy Schaefer, CRS technical adviser for emergency coordination, was in Agok as part of the Caritas response in Sudan that supports  more than 100,000 people forced from their homes by recent violence in the contested border area of Abyei. CRS is a Caritas member. The situation here in Agok is still very fluid. It’s been a few weeks since their displacement from Abyei, and you still see people coming and going. Some are leaving to go further south while others are arriving because they’ve heard from the government that it is safe to return. This is the planting season, so people are trying to make decisions about what they’re going to do over the next few months for food. It is important to them to be able to get seeds into the ground to harvest crops in the coming months. Their very livelihoods are in jeopardy. Markets here continue to be bare. [...]

Taking the long view in Sudan

By |6 July 2011|

Andy Schaefer, CRS technical adviser for emergency coordination, was in Agok as part of the Caritas response in Sudan that supports  more than 100,000 people forced from their homes by recent violence in the contested border area of Abyei. CRS is a Caritas member. One thing that has become apparent to me while working to meet the needs of those displaced from Abyei is that the Church’s presence really is a symbol of hope. A few Sundays ago during Mass, local parish priest, Fr. Biong gave a speech about helping people to rebuild their lives and the need for continued support during this difficult time. This is such an important message for everyone to hear: the displaced, host communities, and those working to help meet their needs. Priests like Fr. Biong help people to feel that they have not been abandoned. He continues to be with his people seeking refuge in Agok, [...]

Darfur stories: Changing lives in 2011

By |1 July 2011|

  Life and hope for Fatima  Fatima is a 35-year-old mother of six and from the Fur tribe in Darfur. She fled her home in Jebel Marra in 2004 when fighting flared up in the area. Her father, husband, two brothers and her mother-in-law died in the conflict. Fatima headed to Nertiti, but they were attacked again before they arrived. Eventually they reached their destination, homeless and without hope. She received some food from people who already lived in the camp and she used her cloak to provide shelter for her children. Then the rains started and there was no one to look after them. She had never thought that this would one day have been her destiny. No shelter to protect her children from the sun, heat and rain. No a jerry can to bring water. She decided to go to Hassa Hissa camp in Zalingei where her relatives lived. [...]

Health, clean water and food in Darfur [Gallery]

By |1 July 2011|

Caritas Internationalis supports over half a million people in Darfur with Act International, the alliance of Protestant and Orthodox aid agencies. Caritas programmes provide clean water, shelter, livelihoods, health and a sense of community to people traumatized by conflict.

June 22, 2011

Prayer and Novena for Republic of South Sudan

By |22 June 2011|

Novena for South Sudan South Sudan emerges as a new nation on 9 July 2011. The Catholic Church in Sudan is inviting all people of goodwill to take part in nine days of prayer for the future of the new state. This novena begins on  June 29, 2011 and ends on July 7, 2011. Day One: Dignity of the Human Person Day Two: Common Good Day Three: Rights and Responsibilities Day Four: Preferential Option for the Poor Day Five: Solidarity Day Six: Integrity of Creation Day Seven: Reconciliation Day Eight: Subsidiarity or Participatory Government Day Nine: Peace Prayer for Republic of South Sudan God of Mercies, We thank you for your great love for us. We ask you to guide all our leaders in the process of nation building. Grant them your wisdom, compassion and fortitude. Loving God, give us courage to reject ethnic resentment as well as ethnic conflicts. Through the intercession of St. Josephine Bakhita, help us to overcome hurt, hostility and bitterness in our hearts so that we become [...]

Compassion in action in southern Sudan

By |11 June 2011|

Andy Schaefer, CRS technical adviser for emergency coordination, is in Agok, Sudan working to assist some of the more than 90,000 people displaced by recent violence in the contested border area of Abyei, Sudan. CRS is a Caritas member. He shares with us his impressions from the field. Whenever a person responds to an emergency situation you have to face the grief and loss of those affected. There is so much work to be done and so many people who need assistance. It is also in these moments that you see the real face of humanity and the deep compassion people can show to their fellow man. I’ve seen two such examples since arriving to the Agok area of Sudan. Agok is a town that used to number about ten thousand but has recently swelled to the tens of thousands since conflict broke out in the neighboring town of Abyei. The [...]

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