SOUTH SUDAN: IDP’S CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS
Created on Wednesday, 24 December 2014 06:36
24 December 2014 – The one year old crisis in South Sudan has generated thousands of Internally Displace Persons (IDP’s) across the country. According to United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) in South Sudan, 27.000 of them are held in Juba IDP’s camps.
Since the beginning of the current crisis an Ad Hoc Committee was formed by the Archdiocese of Juba to offer some pastoral assistance to the displaced communities in Juba. Some Religious, including a good number of Comboni Missionaries, Priests and Bishops have been pastorally assisting the IDP’s communities.
Besides the religious assistance, the Church in Juba has also been supporting IDP’s communities with a school, counseling, distribution of food and non-food items and some medicine.
In Juba IDP’s camps there are four Catholic chapels. Also, some other displaced Christians from the Diocese of Malakal have joined them.
These displaced communities meet regularly for prayers and sharing. They form small Christian communities inside the UN bases. Faith and prayers have been a strong source of support in their struggle to overcome fears, uncertainties and traumas. The Christian message also encourages them to look beyond revenge and seek reconciliation, forgiveness and healing.
Besides the Sunday Eucharist, Juba IDP’s Christians have also received the Sacraments of Christian initiation. Last Sunday Bishop Santo Loku Pio, the Auxiliary Bishop of Juba, administrated over 60 Confirmation in one of the chapels inside the UN bases. A lot more people had been baptized, others received first communion and the sacrament of reconciliation.
The IDP’s Christian communities are now seriously engaged in the Christmas preparation. The coming of Jesus, the Prince of Peace, at this Christmas time is particularly for them an important occasion to renew their faith and hope.
The beginning of the crisis in December last year had prevented them from celebrating this great Christian feast.