The following series of texts has an objective to introduce you to the many kinds of assistance needed by various organizations, parishes or Catholic communities throughout the world. We invite you to travel with us to all the continents that you may see how very important your support is to them.
Enjoy the read !
By ACN International
Adapted by AB Griffin, ACN Canada
After almost 25 years of civil war, millions of dead and wounded, millions more refugees, and even after the referendum and establishment of a new nation in the South, the wounds are still fresh in Sudan, and in hearts of many. The danger heralded by new hostilities is never far away. An entire generation has known little else but war, violence, expulsion and destitution.
Priests in Sudan know all about suffering, it’s not something they’ve merely read about in the paper or watched on television, but something rooted in their personal experience of enduring the bloody Way of the Cross along with their Church in Sudan. Many of the younger priests have scarcely known their country as anything other than a country at war throughout their lives. Many trained for the priesthood in the most difficult conditions.
Ever more constricted breathing space for the Church
The priests are present for the faithful and support them in every possible respect – pastorally, materially and educationally. They do all this even though they are far too few in number to be able to respond to this ocean of need. Within their own souls, they suffer the same traumas as the rest of the Catholic faithful, and feel such helplessness being empty-handed, as they have nothing to give but themselves. God has called these men to be shepherds to his harassed flock.
Since the secession of South Sudan, the Khartoum government has pursued an even more aggressive policy of Islamization, with the continued introduction of the Islamic Sharia law and its application to Christians as well as Muslims. It now applies to both public and private law and is also imposed in the field of education. The goal of fully Islamizing Sudanese society is now a major political issue. Breathing space, for the Church, is becoming ever more constricted.
It is a small wonder then, that many priests have reached a limit with their endurance and that some of them undergo severe vocational crisis during these difficult times. The prefect of the Vatican’s clergy congregation, Archbishop Mauro Piacenza has remarked that a priest needs “the heart muscles of a Rambo” in order to muster all the love and spiritual strength he needs to fulfil his vocation, and all the more so, in countries like these.
Cardinal Gabriel Zubeir Wako, Archbishop of Khartoum, writes: “Those of us who are responsible for these priests are deeply concerned for their spiritual welfare during this time of great changes, and we want to create an environment in which they can have time to read, to pray and to deepen their faith, so that they in turn can minister to their flocks.”
These priests need our support to protect them from the risk of psychological breakdown. The cardinal’s aim is to bring together 68 priests from the Archdiocese of Khartoum, and 22 priests from the Diocese of El Obeid, for a program of ongoing formation and spiritual renewal that they may be strengthened in their vocation and share and tackle the challenges facing them all; where they can mutually comfort and support one another.
On four occasions, during this Year of Faith, the priests of the two dioceses will come together. And ACN will be supporting them with a contribution of $12,700.
If you wish to make a donation, please call us: (514) 932-0552 or 1 (800) 585-6333