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Dear priests, religious fathers, sisters and brothers and the faithful,

            In the Catholic Archdiocese of Juba our work was cut out by Corona virus Pandemic we couldn’t begin our work of evangelization but we know Satan the prince of destruction and division has just appeared to stop our initiatives, who would like to divide us as tribe? the devil knows when  pastors are united his work will not going be easy. He tries  to destroy our families, Nations, societies and the Church. For the devil there is no end of splitting, shattering peoples into tribes and family as Jesus predicted “there will be division between father and son, mother against daughter, etc.,” let us resist the diabolic works of Satan and be together.

            In the Catholic Archdiocese of Juba, we think while it may not be possible to accurately estimate the required financial resources or even achieve the financial means, the following areas have been identified as very important for sustainability of the core values of the Archdiocesan in social-pastoral services:-

  1. New Evangelisation: We have the task of a new evangelisation proposed by Pope Francis and Benedict XVI Emeritus Pope, this must rely on Pastoral agents; again here we must first ask who are the agents? The agents of pastoral work are bishops, priests, religious brothers and nuns catechists and lay faithful present in this archdiocese. To secure the success of evangelisation we must have strong foundations. The agents have to be empowered, cared and maintained continuously so that they can deliver properly the task given them. Above all we will work for true conversion, dialogue, Justice, peace and reconciliation in the Archdiocese. Pope Francis said, In the Church today mere administration can no longer be enough. Throughout the world let us be permanently in a state of mission and conversion.”  Our Church enjoys a great deal of voluntary services by pastoral agents we mean: the laity, religious fathers, Sisters and Brothers, diocesan Priests and catechists, and others, they play a very important role in the organisation and implementation of the pastoral and social programs. As they serve without salaries or little incentives, the Catholic Archdiocese of Juba considers to provide them with regular maintenance with some subsidies, aimed at motivating them in their pastoral services. For pastoral agents to work better it is necessary to support them with incentives and feeding allowances. It is important to provide them with health care by covering their medical bills and to make health insurance if possible.

            Pastoral conversion is one of the central themes in the “new phase of evangelisation” that the church is called to foster today, where by christian communities be ever more centres conducive to an encounter with Christ.

  • On-going Formation and Spiritual Renewal: The pastoral agents require ongoing formation in order to prevent them from being burned-out after long service. We will provide a relevant and comprehensive programs for sabbatical break for all: by sending pastoral agents for formal studies in designated fields of studies, we will train them locally through workshops, study weeks, retreats and recollections, through the above mentioned means the spiritual life of the pastoral agents may be updated.
  •  Mission: The Church by nature is missionary. We will continue to invite various religious missionaries to the Archdiocese of Juba; so that they can supplement what we as diocesan priests do not have, they will sign contracts with the diocesan bishop so to spell clearly their duties and rights. They come to the Archdiocese to help us so we ask all to cooperate actively with them.
  • Stewardship: We have been lagging behind in stewardship and servant leadership after the example of the person of Jesus Christ. We will form committees and councils for running well the affairs of the Church such institutions like: Presbyteral Council, College of Consultors, pastoral Council, liturgical committee, financial council, committee for assents of the Church: movable and immovable council etc.,
  • Restructuring the Curia of Archdiocese. We will restructure the Curia offices to suit the sign of time. In fulfilling its ministerial characteristics, each office of the Curia, as collaborators with the ordinary, has its own scope of responsibilities or competencies. Each office deals with subject matter or projects that: pertain to the Office of the Archbishop. In keeping with the priorities and plans of the archdiocese, each individual office will take initiatives and be creative, collaborating with other offices, and consulting widely with one another and with parishes. Put your gifts at the service of one another.” 1 Peter 4:10.
  • The parish is not an outdated institution; precisely because it possesses great flexibility, it can assume quite different contours depending on the openness and missionary creativity of the pastor and the community. While certainly not the only institution which evangelises, if the parish proves capable of self-renewal and constant adaptivity, it continues to be the church living in the midst of the homes of her sons and daughters.[1] This presumes that it really is in contact with the homes and the lives of its people (i.e., by having Small Christian Community SCC). The parish does not become a useless structure out of touch with people or a self-absorbed group made up of the chosen few. The parish is the presence of the Church in a given territory, an environment for hearing God’s word, for growth in the Christian life, for dialogue, proclamation, charitable outreach, worship and celebration. In all its activities the parish encourages and trains its members to be evangelisers. It is a community of communities, a sanctuary where the thirsty come to drink in the midst of their journey, and a center of constant missionary outreach. We must admit, though, that the call to review and renew our parishes have not yet sufficed to bring them nearer to people, to make them environments for living communion and participation, and to make them completely mission oriented.
  • Self-Reliance: As we move forward, as a Church of Christ in this Archdiocese we should adapt a policy of self-reliance or co-sharing responsibility in our institutions and facilities, we should plan and study the possibility of this policy. For sustainability of pastoral and social programs, the archdiocese will encourage financial autonomy of each parish encourage priests to have parish farms and cafeteria especially those in towns. This means the parish can make projects for self-reliance, it can be achieved through empowerment of christian faithful in running the affairs of their parish and participating in the financial capabilities of their parishes. The Archbishop wishes to facilitate the following: by constituting the office of the Financial administrator in the Archdiocese, so that projects will be channel through the office; by providing initial financing to parishes and parish groups to establish feasible income generating ventures, providing vocational training to youth, women, and other interested groups on self-reliance.
  • Construction and Renovation infrastructures: The plan to reach more people can only be realised by expansion of services, that means the Archdiocese of Juba has to reach more areas by first studying the viability of a place before establishing a parish or centre and building a physical infrastructures for priests where they don’t  existence. We are to construct new churches, chapels, priests and sisters houses. Renovating of the existing houses is also important. We will embark on building more nurseries and primaries schools, in all the parishes.
  • Vocation: We are to foster vocations to religious life. We have around Eighty five(85) minor seminarians and  five(5) major seminarians, we need to support seminarians spiritually and materially. A positive lifestyle of priests can encourage seminarians who look for role models to imitate. Our seminary formation too has to be considered especially in the minor seminary the trend of formation has changed modern technology has impacted the young minds we need to adopt a conducive environment necessary to encourage and support seminarians so those selected to form the seminarians should be extra conscious in dealing with them. We need to have a critical look at seminarians, we have in the minor and major seminaries. What are their motives and attitude towards God and ministerial priesthood? We have vocations but no proper facilities for training and no pastoral experience on the part of seminarians they work like ordinary people in the village. The Archbishop is asking all parish priests to receive major seminarians  when they are on holidays and to report about each seminarian at the end of their pastoral experience to the archdiocese. We will  establish one Sunday in the year for the collection of funds for the formation of minor Seminarians.
  • Reconciliation and Peace-building: We live with the expectation, hope, of life transformed. We live in a world where hospitality to strangers, peace without  violence and even hope of life everlasting is promised within the terms of our faith. We also live in a very human world, a world that is often messy and never perfect and yet I hold firm to the belief that we can create a society where mutual flourishing is possible, disagreeing well, what is central, is respect for our difference, and is of paramount importance. We can anticipate a world where, as Psalm 85 tells us mercy and faithfulness will meet; righteousness and peace will kiss each other.”I realise these deeply Christian, and indeed human, foundations might be alien to some. Indeed, it might even turn some off altogether. But the concepts that are central to reconciliation – word like forgiveness, peace and grace – not only in the christian faith but in other world faiths, and in many of the philosophies around humanism. Their application can benefit all alike. Peace and reconciliation is the ability to deal with conflict by non-violent means. Reconciliation is the strategic end  state of sustainable peace using every tool available to us to create a framework that can transform violent conflict into non-violent disagreement. Through our justice and Peace department and Radio Bahkita FM, we will work to reconcile our people who are torn by conflicts with different lawyers, we will try to heal the wounds inflicted by different enemies: ignorance, lack commitment to the truth, poverty, diseases, hunger, war etc.,
  •  Means of Transportation: The Archdiocese will embark on providing means for the main parishes to enable them reach the outstations chapels, to administer the sacraments to christians as well as to facilitate the cooperation between catechists, priests, and other pastoral agents. The transport support could be provided through: provision of cars, motorcycles, bicycles for the nineteen parishes or so; that we have in the Archdiocese. The bicycles would be for the full time catechists. Others supports will be in fuel and providing repairs for major breakdown of the cars more than 150,000 ssps, and Insurance and Road licences for the parishes and curial cars. We will try to provide remotest parishes with new means of transportation.
  •  Archdiocesan Pastoral Meetings: There is a need of forming different groups  or committees to run the affairs of the Archdiocese; therefore, I called for the formation of strong presbyteral council, college of consultors and Financial committee, Committee for land and investment or acquisition and liturgical Committee of the Archdiocese among others. For any good coordination and cohesion among the various social and pastoral departments in the Catholic Archdiocese of Juba, meetings are of great importance. The Archbishop will encourage various coordinative meetings such as Curial weekly meetings, College of Consultors, Deanery meetings, Archdiocesan task-force of Covid-19 pandemic and will encourage all to attend without unnecessary absence. The main archdiocesan meetings are: Presbyteral Council or Pastoral council, College of Consultors, Committee meetings etc., these will bring together representatives of Archdiocesan personnel working in different sectors (social and pastoral). The Archdiocese will support these meetings by transportation, printing materials, accommodation or lodging  and feeding.
  •  Social Services ( Caritas Juba): Is basic services unit. It is a source of enrichment for the local church, raised up by the spirit for evangelising different areas and sectors. Frequently, it brings a new evangelising fervour and a new capacity for dialogue with the world whereby the Church is renewed. But it will prove beneficial for us not to lose contact with the rich reality of the local parish and to participate readily in the overall pastoral activity of the particular church. The kind of integration we called for is to prevent it from concentrating only on part of the gospel or the Church, or becoming nomads without roots.
  • Conclusion The co-responsibility that clergy, religious, and laity share by virtue of their baptism will remain a mere concept unless each individual cultivates a relationship with Christ and therefore lives by faith. The faithful suffer to see the loss of meaning in the lives of priests, friends, colleagues, or neighbours; the rampant corruption in our society; injustice, neglect of the poor, the infirm, and imprisoned; the lack of a loving relationship across generations; the neglect or abandonment of children; the quest for instant gratification in an increasingly technological society. To live co-responsibly in the Church means to testify how the Christian faith constitutes the only fully valid response consciously perceived and stated by all in varying degrees to the problems and hopes that life poses to every person and society.[2] Let all the members of the body of Christ take up together the responsibility of bringing Christ, the only Saviour, to the world, in a spirit of family, synodality, friendship, and communion.

Yours sincerely in Christ,                                                                                                                                                         _____________________________________________

                        + The most Rt. Rev. Stephen Ameyu Martin Mulla

                           Metropolitan Archdiocese of Juba

                           SOUTH SUDAN

[1] John Paul II., Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Christifideles laici (30 September, 1988), 26: AAS 81 (1989), 438.

[2]              .               16  Dignitatis Humanae 4: “The freedom or immunity from coercion in matters religious which is the endowment of persons as individuals is also to be recognized as their right when they act in community. Religious communities are a requirement of the social nature both of man and of religion itself.”

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