SOUTH SUDAN: “I was ready for this new mission”
The Catholic Church is currently observing an Extraordinary Missionary Month. The missionary work of the Church is often performed under difficult conditions: in the midst of persecution, poverty and war.
This is especially true for South Sudan. Hundreds of thousands of casualties, millions of refugees – the country has been left in a desolate state by the civil war that broke out in 2013, at a time when the African country of South Sudan was only in its second year, and lasted until the cease-fire last year. This is how the situation was described by Father Boniface Isenge from the centrally located diocese of Rumbek during a visit to the headquarters of the pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need.
According to Father Boniface, about 38 per cent of the approximately 13 million South Sudanese are Christians. About 180,000 Catholics live in his diocese. He said that many even consider the Catholic Church to be the only functioning institution in the country. As a young priest, the Spiritan first lived in neighbouring Ethiopia for eight years before he decided to go to South Sudan in 2013. “After the country gained independence, my order was urgently looking for priests and missionaries to work here. I wanted to do something new and was ready for this new mission,” Father Boniface recalled. He sees it as his calling to bring peace to this war-torn region.
Father Boniface Isenge from South Sudan speaks to ACN in October 2019. Copyright Aid to the Church in Need.