Talì Parish is composed of Talì Payam and Tindilo Payam. Both of them belong politically to Terekeka County. Ethnically we find mostly Mundari people in the area, plus some few inhabitants from other tribes like Dinka, Atuot or Moru due to marriage, pastures or trade. The Mundari are counted among the Bari speakers, although their dialect shows significant differences in spelling and vocabulary. Many of them understand rudimentary Arabic and few even English. They are semi-nomadic pastoralists who stay mainly in small villages or, at least during the dry season, in cattle-camps.
The Comboni-Missionaries opened Tali Mission in 1954 coming from Kudile Mission on the Nile (near Terekeka). It was dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima and is now called Christ the King Parish. According to the information available in the Comboni Archive in Rome, the missionaries left Tali either in 1963 or 1964 (General Expulsion of foreign missionaries from Sudan). Therefore, since the late 50’s Tali was practically without priests residing in the parish. Sporadically, some diocesan priests or even the bishop visited the parish. In the 80’s and 90’s some few committed catechists defended and even spread the catholic faith in the area. During the time of war Tali was for several years under the diocese of Yei, precisely from 1997 to 2005.
After the signing of the peace agreement, the Archbishop of Juba, Paolino Lukudu Loro, asked the Comboni Missionaries to take over the pastoral care of the faithful in Tali Parish, which by then was an outstation of Terakeka Parish. In December 2007 (Christmas) Fr. Markus Körber visited Tali and came back at Easter 2008 (March) in order to stay. In May 2008, Fr. Joseph Pellerino joined him. Before Christmas 2008 Bro. Damiano Mascalzoni arrived and served the people of Tali until August 2013 when he went to Rome for the Comboni Year. In May 2009, the scholastic Gregor Schmidt started his mission service in Tali Parish. Fr. Gregor stayed until the end of 2011 (now in Old Fangak Mission). In November 2011, Fr. Albino Adot joined Tali Community and, in August 2013, Fr. Martin Laku began his missionary work in Tali.
Therefore, Tali Community has three members at the moment:
Fr. Martin Loku Mödi, from South Sudan
Fr. Francis Chemello, from Italy
Br. Claudio Bozza, from Italy
Mr. Peter Ladu, a former Comboni Student, has been working as head teacher in the mission school since 2011. Pre-postulant Tito Tong spent four months of pastoral experience in the community (Nov ‘13 – Feb ’14). The recent outbreak of violence in South Sudan after the mid-December 2013 clashes in Juba has affected Tali area as well. Even the mission was targeted by the “rebels” but God in his providence protected the parish from any harm.
Tali Parish belongs to Juba Archdiocese. The vision of the Archdiocese is to educate evangelizing people, a prophetic and self-sustaining family of God by sanctifying, teaching and serving the people of God through the proclamation of the Word of God and integral human development.
Centre and Outstations
The Parish of Tali consists of the centre in Tali itself and 36 outstations. Each outstation is under the care of a catechist and, if possible, his assistant. Our contact with the various outstations (or cattle-camps during the dry season) is based, on one side, on regular visits for the celebration of the sacraments, other forms of prayers or current projects (building chapel, meeting, teaching etc.). On the other hand, the catechist-coordinator of each zone or the chapel catechist is supposed to bring a monthly report to the parish priest. At the close of each year, the parish priest gives a report to his community about the monthly collection and their use. Last year, for example, the offerings of the outstations were used to buy plastic chairs for each chapel.
Education and Human Promotion
The education of children and youth is considered one the most crucial issues in South Sudan where the illiteracy rate is still very high, especially among girls and among pastoralists. Therefore, in 2009 we opened a Primary School to guarantee an education enriched with Christian values. In some outstations we run so-called “bush schools” and in Tali we offer Adult Education for Women and Soldiers.
Interested youth have the possibility to gain some mechanical, agricultural or medical skills in the workshop activities of the mission. These activities are part of an approach that promotes the development of the whole person and encourages self-reliance and incoming-generating projects.
In 2009 we started a leprosy project together with the Ministry of Health of Central Equatoria State in order to provide and distribute drugs and to visit the affected patients in their homes. A small drug store offers people the chance to get some basic medicines.
Since the end of April 2014 Tali Parish is proud to have – for the first time ever – a community of Religious Sisters. The three Nuns belong to the Religious Congregation of the Elisabethan Franciscan Sisters (Sr. Vittoria from Italy, Sr. Anastasia from Kenya and Sr. Chiara from Egypt). They have been learning the local language (“Bari”) and are involved with various religious and social activities in the mission.