THE GENESIS OF RAGA MISSION: A TRIBUTE
Created on Saturday, 13 December 2014 02:47
13 December 2014 – (By Fr. Jervas Mayik Nyok) – Comboni Missionaries in Raga mission, South Sudan, “looking at the ‘signs of the times’ and the pastoral contribution of the Comboni Missionaries over the last 80 years of presence in Raga”, pay a tribute to the people of that mission and get ready to move on following the “will and directives of the Holy Spirit”.
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In order to introduce the genesis of Raga mission, allow me to begin with the latest event: Comboni Day 10/10. This year’s celebration marked an important memory to the people of Raga Mission and County as a whole. First of all, Raga County is one of the three counties of comprising Western Bhar-el-gazal State.
As we celebrated the 133 years of Comboni’s glorious birth into heaven, the Comboni Missionaries’ presence in this mission of Raga covered 80 years since its foundation in 1934. This means the Combonis arrived to Raga immediately 53 years after the death of St. Daniel Comboni in Khartoum, Sudan.
Many devoted and zealous Comboni Missionaries passed and served this mission and the people of this county from Yabulu south and Tomsah north to Boro-medina west and Deleba east. The pioneers of this mission worked whole heartedly, implanting the ‘Good News’ of Jesus Christ in the heart of the people across the area.
Raga of course had and continues to experience a lot of challenges pertaining to the stability of pastoral setting due to political, economical and social structure of the country as a whole and Western Bhar-el-gazal in particular. Politically of course, the area has some spots of lands remained contested with the north directly after the independence and this makes Raga a front line to any possible hostility between the South and the North. Furthermore, this tension too makes these disputed areas out of reach pastorally. Thus, Raga continues a ‘First Evangelization’ area.
Economically, Raga County is unlike other States of south Sudan whereby a good portion of petrol have been discovered and some of these States begun to enjoy 2% of the total income of this petrol. Raga population is simply a hunting and cultivating community. People of Raga practice this work for their daily consumption which is not even enough for daily living.
Socially, the county is very much affected by an Islamic culture which is very much rooted and liked to Islamic northern type of customs. This was very clear even during referendum when highest number of people Raga voted for unity with the Muslim north Sudan.
To conclude, seeing all these ‘signs of the time’ and the pastoral contribution of the Comboni Missionaries throughout for the last 80 years of our presence in Raga, it’s worthwhile to adhere to the will and directives of the Holy Spirit that flows where he wills. Due to that, sometime this year we were told by our Provincial Superior about the possibility and intention of handing over Raga mission to the diocese. The reason that led to this decision mainly revolves on the scarcity of personnel, especially confreres with Arabic background, ready to embark on this mission.
Therefore, as Preacher says in his book of Ecclesiastes, ‘there is time for everything’. We as Comboni Missionaries can say our time has come to end the Genesis of our presence here in Raga. Due to this step, we cannot hand over this parish to the diocese with regret but with hope that the incoming pastoral team from the diocese will vigorously pick up from where we handed over the Parish. Hence, the Comboni feast of this year 2014 is marked as the last feast of our Founder St. Daniel Comboni we celebrate as Comboni Missionaries in Raga Parish.