Saint Bakhita Church
Saint Bakhita Church and Curia Construction
Sudan Relief Fund was contacted by the Catholic Diocese of Tombura-Yambio for help building a church. Located in the Western Equatorian State with a population of 1.6 million (63% Catholic), the diocese struggles to serve ten counties, support the Saint Bakhita Orphanage (which SRF built and funds), and meet the spiritual needs of parishioners who had been attending Mass in an open structure with a corrugated roof. A church was sorely needed. The local Christian community came together and with local contributions built a foundation and the first wall. It was at this point that they came to us for assistance.
With the collapse of the government and the constant stream of bloodshed, the Catholic Church is the only functioning institution left in South Sudan. Sudan Relief Fund is funding the remainder of the construction of the church and Curia adjacent to the John Paul II Philosophicum Major Seminary. This way the religious there are better situated to serve parishioners, the community, and the many outposts (small parishes) in the surrounding area with pastoral activities (catechesis) and community development programs.
In light of the civil war, there are many people lacking the basic necessities such as food, shelter, healthcare, and education. Sudan Relief Fund works closely with Bishop Eduardo Kussala of the Tombura-Yambio Diocese to funnel aid into the area. Not only is establishing the church a means to provide much needed assistance, but it also serves as a meeting place for the community to promote peace and hope for the future. Bishop Kussala coordinates peace festivals to bring people from different tribes together to celebrate their independence and to encourage working together for a peaceful future.
“Thanks to Sudan Relief Fund (SRF) who came to their aid. Funds donated by SRF were means to finish the wall, roof the Church and do all other finishes of the church building…The Christian community of St. Bakhita is very happy and excited to see how the construction of their church is going on. They remain grateful to the SRF for their love for the parish of St. Bakhita.” – Rev. Fr. John Ngbapia – Director Development and Peace
The instability in Yambio has led to the displacement of many families, but as people return from hiding the construction of the new church continues and should be completed by August.