Celebrating the Silver Jubilee in South Sudan, Bro. Claudio Bozza, mccj

By Bro. Claudio Bozza, mccj

Dear friends, greetings to you from Mapuordit. This is a collective letter which I send to those, relatives and friends, who accompany me in my missionary ministry. I would like you to feel my closeness to you and your families in this occasion of Easter. It is a time of joy, as Pope Francis reminds us again and again. The Lord is risen and walks with us in our journey of faith.

Hope for South Sudan

In South Sudan this last period has been marked   by the peace agreement signed between Government and opposition last September. As a result of it, many rebel forces have returned to South Sudan from their forced exile. Paride Taban, Bishop emeritus of Torit, thinks that this time peace may have a   better chance. The leaders of the different groups have used conciliatory words, as never before. The President himself admitted publicly that the war that started in 2013 was the fault of the political leadership, and pleaded for forgiveness for all the sufferings people are going true as a consequence.  True, even the new agreement Is not as it should be. The leaders seem more preoccupied of having a share in the power than of serving the common good of their people. And yet, in the present situation it seems that we could not expect more.

Our hope is that there might be more positive developments after the initiative of the Pope in April, when he, together with the heads of the Anglican and the Presbyterian Churches convinced the leaders of South Sudan to attend a two-day retreat in the Vatican, and as a conclusion he made a strong appeal to them to choose peace. To make the appeal stronger he made a surprising gesture of kissing the feet of President Salva Kiir, of the head of the opposition Riak Machar and of another personality of the opposition Rebecca Garang. Let us hope.

Activities in the hospital of Mapuordit

About 40.000 people have passed through our hospital this year, 4.000 more than last year. The maternity has assisted more than 4.000 pregnant women and 482 have given birth in the hospital, taking advantage also of the ambulance. 20.000 people were vaccinated in the area, thanks also to the new road that connects the hospital to the main road of Wau/Juba and makes it possible to people living far to reach the hospital.

This year too we have been visited by many volunteers. They shared with us our joys and the preoccupations of the people.  With the help of these people we have been able to reach more people who live far away.

What matters more is our presence. It shows our closeness to the people who come to us expecting an answer to their health problems. Of course they do not get always the answer they expect.  Anyhow 91% of the people who came to us got cured. Unfortunately, 2% failed and went back to the traditional local doctors, while other 4% were affected by sicknesses for which there is no treatment. Others just returned to the house of the Father. Surely more could be done and must be done. We are grateful for what was achieved. We know well that it is not all fruit of what we do. We know well that it is mainly the work of God who never ceases operating among us.

Silver Jubilee

On May 21st, 1994, in the church of Busto Garolfo, at the presence of our Superior General, surrounded by friends and confreres and with the participation of so many faithful of Celeseo, I made my religious vows as a Brother in the Congregation of the Comboni Missionaries. 25 years have passed from that day. I renew today my gratitude to God for his faithfulness, a faithfulness that goes much beyond what I have been able to do. God loves me, independently from what I am able to do. Sometimes I went through hardships and difficulties. Often dark clouds were there. But the presence and the love of God has never failed to make itself felt, like the sun that never disappears.

25 years ago I made myself available for the missions. I spent 13 years in Kenya, 3 years in South Sudan, 9 years in Italy. There is no mission without departure. Sometimes we are tempted to settle where we are, protected by the closeness of the family, having everything under control, avoiding risks. My family did not object my vocation but found a bit difficult to accept the fact that I was going far. After all –they said- there is poverty also in Italy. It is true and yet when you come in touch with the poverty of the African continent the difference is evident. To some disciples Jesus said “Go”! It is a strong invitation to make oneself available totally, and be ready to reach out, especially to those who have not yet had the gift of knowing the joy of God’s love.

I wish you and your families all the best. HAPPY EASTER. May God bless you all. Pray for peace in South Sudan and pray also for me.