June 13, 2019

Positivity: In war-torn South Sudan, two Spanish priests build a shrine to Our Lady of the Rosary

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Juba South Sudan:

May 31, 2019 / 04:00 am

Ave Maria, the parish church outside Mupoi, South Sudan, fell into disrepair decades ago. It was abandoned at the beginning of Sudan’s civil war, and then ransacked. It is dilapidated and practically unusable.

But two strong-willed Spanish missionaries in South Sudan are working to change that. They have a vision for the church, which they hope to turn in a continental Marian Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary.

The church, near Mupoi, in the South Sudanese diocese of Tombura-Yambio, is massive. It was built almost a century ago by Combonian missionaries from Italy.

The missionaries are followers of St. Daniel Comboni, the first Bishop of Sudan, who founded their order in the late 19th century. The Combonians became the leading evangelizing force of Sudan, and were especially successful in converting to Catholicism the tribes in the territory that today comprises the new nation of South Sudan.

Sudan became an independent nation in 1956. Its first prime minister, Ismail al-Azhari, in order to appease the Islamists of the country’s north, expelled all Catholic missionaries from the country. The majority of those missionaries were Italian Combonians.

Their churches, rectories and missions were either abandoned or transferred to young native clergy and religious. Ave Maria was one such Church. But after the missionaries were expelled, and the civil war began, most of the region’s Catholic population fled. The Church building was left to crumble.

But Catholics are returning to the area. And two Catalonian priests, themselves missionaries to the region, are determined to turn the massive Catholic church into the continental Marian Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary.

“Now that the people has returned to this area, our goal is to rebuild physically, but most importantly spiritually, with a comprehensive vision” says Fr. Avelino Bassols, pastor of the mission parish.

Bassols and his vicar, Fr. Albert Salvans, belong to the Missionary Community of St. Paul de the Apostle (MCSPA) made up of men and women, priests and lay people, who have decided to leave everything behind in order to follow Christ as missionaries in the most demanding areas of the globe. …

Go here for the rest of the story.


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