Sponsor the Formation and Spiritual Renewal of Sudanese Priests
Project Code: 150-04-79
The priests in Sudan know all about suffering. It is not something they have merely read about in the paper or watched on the television, but something they have personally experienced during the bloody Way of the Cross the Church has undergone in Sudan. Many of the younger priests have scarcely known their country as anything other than a country at war throughout their lives, and many were able to train for the priesthood only in the most difficult of conditions. An entire generation has known little else but war, violence, expulsion and destitution. After almost 25 years of civil war, millions of dead and wounded, millions more refugees, and even after the referendum and the establishment of a new nation in the South, the wounds are still fresh in many hearts and the danger of new hostilities never far away.
The priests are there for the ordinary faithful and support them in every possible respect: pastorally, materially and educationally. And they do all this even though they are far too few in number. In their own souls they, too, suffer the same trauma as the rest of the Catholic faithful, and they can feel helpless and empty-handed, with nothing to give but themselves. But still God has called them to be shepherds to this harassed flock.
To make matters worse, since the secession of South Sudan, the government in Khartoum has pursued a still 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, and this has made the breathing space for the Church ever more constricted.
It is not surprise, then, that many priests have reached the limit of their endurance and that some of them undergo a severe vocational crisis. The prefect of the Vatican's clergy congregation, Archbishop Mauro Piacenza, has remarked colorfully that a priest needs "the heart muscles of a Rambo" in order to muster all the love and spiritual strength he needs to fulfill his vocation. How much more so in countries like this, where they are undergoing a daily Golgotha.
The Archbishop of Khartoum, Cardinal Gabriel Zubeir Wako writes to us: "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 for the 68 priests of the Archdiocese of Khartoum and the 22 priests of the Diocese of El Obeid to come together for a program of ongoing formation and spiritual renewal. In this way they can be strengthened in their vocation and together share and tackle the challenges facing them, mutually comforting and supporting one another in word and deed. On four occasions during this Year of Faith, the priests of the two dioceses will come together.
ACN will be supporting them with a contribution of $8,100 for their travel costs and the overall running of the program. Will you give to support the ongoing formation of priests in the troubled country of Sudan?
This project is an example of our work. Your donation will be attributed either to this or to another similar project that accords with the pastoral needs that ACN witnesses.