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South Sudan: Christians Celebrate As Churches Reopen

“The long awaited day finally arrives”

Waves of joy and celebration have swept across Catholic Christians in South Sudan following a decision by the Church authorities to reopen churches after a six months restriction. This follows a circular signed last week by His Grace Rt. Rev. Stephen Ameyu Martin Mulla, Archbishop of Juba, asking all catholic churches to reopen. Last Sunday, Christians were again able to attend mass after a six months restriction set out by the government as part of the government response plan to fight the spread of the Covid 19 pandemic in the newest country in the world; South Sudan.

 Thousands of catholic faithful for six months had missed this beautiful sacrament; the Eucharist which is the most important common celebration of Christianity.  They had missed praying, singing, dancing and praising the Lord together. There was enormous pressure from the Christians at all levels for the churches to be reopened. According to some of the Christians, they felt like the Israelites in Babylon when they remembered how they used to pray in God’s Temple in Jerusalem during these six months closure of church activities. With the churches now reopened, it’s now possible for the laity to pray together as one big fraternal family of God in South Sudan, in communion with their Creator through the sacraments and commit their lives to Christ.

Indeed, one day in the house of the Lord is definitely better than a thousand elsewhere as Psalm 84 puts it. This was evident in the faces of the hundreds of Christians who last Sunday converged in Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Parish, Juba Archdiocese, South Sudan to offer their praise and thanks to the Lord and to be fed and nourished by the Word of God and the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.  One could not fail but to notice the various reactions from the people: their faces radiant and beaming with cheerfulness, a spirit of delight and wonder, blissful and complete joy and happiness. As the saying goes: ‘you do not know what you have got till it is gone. Truth is, you knew what you had, you just never thought you’d lose it’ kept coming to my mind. The beauty of once again seeing the faces of our Christians indeed makes a difference and makes life more meaningful and worth living.

Rev. Fr. Linus Kang MHM

Assistant Parish Priest of Holy Rosary Parish Juba, South Sudan

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