Message of Bishop Tombe Trille Kuku addressed to the Faithful of the Diocese of El Obeid on the Occasion of his consecration as Bishop, Divine Mercy Sunday, April 23rd 2017.

‘I DESIRE MERCY’ (Mt 9:13)

Message Addressed to the Faithful of the Diocese of El Obeid on the Occasion of Bishop’s consecration, Divine Mercy Sunday April 23rd 2017

As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied Grace,’ (1 Pt. 4:10).

Dear faithful, partners and friends of the Diocese of El Obeid; Grace, Mercy and Peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord and Saviour be with you all. I thank and praise the Lord, celebrating the Divine Mercy Sunday, the day, in which God initiated this good work in me with the ministry of priesthood twenty six years ago. This Sunday celebrates the compassionate and merciful heart of God. The God who ever ‘espouses His Church in right and in justice, in love and in mercy’ (Hos 2:21). With it we began our pastoral ministry on the feet of Jesus Christ our Saviour and walked together throughout the past years. God in His great mercy was and is at work in us and with us at all times of turbulence, struggles and challenges of our Nation. With confidence, we remained a Eucharistic-Prayerful and steady Church in the service of those entrusted to us. We resolve, right now, to recommit ourselves to serve. May His Holy Will be done in us each day of our lives!

Two weeks from the official date of my appointment and before receiving canonical commission for pastoral ministry in our diocese, I paid a solidarity visit to our faithful in refugees camps of Yida, Ajoung Thok and Pamir to acquaint myself with their situation. There, I saw in their faces, the image of the diocese to which I am now called to serve as Bishop. Their situation in South Kordofan State resembles that of the people in Darfur States, which is part of our diocese. Their Spiritual and Material Needs injects deep affection and awakes in my mind what we desire to achieve as a Church, beginning from grass root! It urges us to set clear Vision, Mission and Values for our diocese as guide-lines for our work.

The Church is a divine institution with sacred spiritual mission. Our vision, mission and Values are appropriate and meaningful only when they lead us to the Will of God and guiding us at the footsteps of Jesus Christ our Saviour, who teaches us that: ‘I came down from heaven to do the will of the Father who sent me’ (cfr. Jn 6:38). And the will of God is that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life, (Jn 6:40). The inspiring Word of God cited at the beginning of this message initiates our Episcopal Pastoral Mission. It is an eye opener that we, as a Church, each one of us is a unique son and daughter of God. Each one of us is endowed with unique gifts and talents. God grants these gifts to each of us for the common good of all the members of the Church. Each of us receives these gifts as stewards. We are to use them for others. Moreover, God grants us grace and the strength to use them well.

As we thank God and commend the good job undertaken by humanitarian organisations in alleviating suffering of our people by providing the basic human needs, we confess that there is great Spiritual Needs that seek our attention and presence. On bases of this inspiring Word of God, a prayerful Word of Christ Jesus as our motto: ‘I Desire Mercy!’ (Mt 9:13), we start our pastoral ministry as the Church, believers, united together in Christ. We begin it as a Spiritual Community, built up of members, who are like living stones, (1Pt 2:5). Whose main purpose is to witness to Christ, to be the light and salt in the diocesan territory and beyond. This inspiring Word! “I Desire Mercy” is meant to excavate and address our Spiritual Needs, shape our Plan!, Our Vision for the Diocese, and its Mission, as we dream of great and believing diocese that challenges current waves:

First: We are a Church with Spiritual Purpose of:

Witnessing to Christ our Saviour through Our Devotion to the Word of God: Preaching, Teaching and Praying (Acts 6); imitating Christ, who utilises these same means, holistically to liberate the human person, as he teaches the illiterates, heals the sick and feeds the hungry. As baptized children of the Father, empowered by His Spirit, commissioned disciples and witnesses, we use His means, aiming to grow together into the person of Christ!

We envision one year program being a strong faithful Christian community that:

1- Teaches the rudiments of basic Prayer and Catechism for Our children

2 – Provides Basic Education and learning for our young sons and daughters

3- Provides health services through our Hospitals and Dispensaries

4- We envision a Christian Family that loves Jesus Christ in the Sacraments of the Church and Values the Gospel, our daily living bread the Christian faith.

Prudently, we base our Programs and Plans on Spiritual Ground, because a house built on strong foundation is durable a midst challenges and storms of our time. We all want to be faithful and successful in our Pastoral Mission, inspired by scripture’s secret of success. ‘Entrust your works to the Lord and your Plans will succeed’ (Prv 16: 3). We desire to stop going our own way and will, instead choose to go the way of Jesus. That means serving faithfully in the face of challenges as His way was of suffering, the way of the cross. This is going to be our way, too. This is the way of gaining the eternal life that is Jesus himself.

Second: As the Faithful of this Diocese, Our Diocesan Spiritual Needs are the Plans of Action. We deeply desire together, to identify our Spiritual Needs, seeking first the kingdom of God and its Justice and all these other things will be given us as well (cfr. Lk 12:31). Our Spiritual Needs shall be the core measure stick that indicate, direct, and determine the way forward. That will be the reason to reform our institutions, render them active in order to satisfy and quench our thirst for Emmanuel, God who is always with us and in our mission. That is why we shall:

1 – Revive our catechetical centre for Formation and Training

2 – Strengthen our Basic, Secondary and Technical Schools

3 – Strengthen our Hospitals and Dispensaries

Mission-Formation: The Lord Jesus teaches us to entrust our Plans and Programs to God with confidence, for He generously grants all our Human and Spiritual Needs. What an amazing grace! That we must seek to be like Christ. Hunger and thirst for righteousness by which we shall be filled. Our faith will grow. We become more close to God, pray to Him and read His word. God is ready to give us everything we need (Jam 4:8). For it pleases our Father to give us His kingdom and grant us good things because of our faith. For those who love God, God grants them every spiritual and material blessings (Eph 1:3).

We dream of the Formation of Human Resources to cater and sustain our spiritual needs, reactivating our institutions is our priority. We shall engage in a program of three years in:

1- Formation of Catechists- for service in and among our communities.

2- Formation of Teachers for our schools.

3- Formation of Health workers for our Hospitals and Dispensaries

4- Promotion of Vocations to Priesthood and religious life.

5- Spiritual Renewal and Ongoing Formation for our Priests.

We therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send more labourers into His vineyard. It is in basing our Programs on Spiritual Needs that will mould us into an effective Christian Community. That our sons and daughters are encouraged to rise proudly and join those different formation houses and religious communities to become priests and religious, to serve such great and Spiritual Church that proclaims the Kingdom of God. For wherever Christ is, the kingdom of God is, the Mercy of God is, and there His will is being fulfilled.

This is the pastoral mission of Jesus Christ himself, who at a very initial moment presents himself into the world declares that he came to the world to fulfil the Will of the Father: ‘Here I come to do your will Oh God’ [Heb. 10:9]. This is the Lord who, desires mercy more than sacrifice. Let this be our constant prayer that the will of God be done every day in our lives each day. Here we come to do your will Oh God!

I personally thank all those who kept the flame of faith burning in this diocese and the whole Church. I thank all of you and my present team, the flag bearers, the Diocesan and Religious Priests with grand Archbishop Poalino Lukudu, Bishops emeritus Macram Max and Antonio Manegazzo. Thanks to the Archbishop Michael Didi who hands over to me the torch of the Gospel today. Thanks to religious men and women and catechists and laity who are tirelessly engaged in the pastoral mission.

I thank our partners from near and far who participate actively in our mission. I appeal to all of you to put your generous hands in ours and participate in building the kingdom of God for the growth of the human persons in this Diocese.

May the Prayers and the Blessings of the Saints of this Diocese, Our Lady Queen of Africa, Josephine Bakhita and Daniel Comboni accompany and protect our footsteps!

Bishop Tombe Trille Kuku

Diocese of El Obeid

Divine Mercy Sunday April 23rd 2017.