AFRICA/SOUTH SUDAN - A missionary: "Only love and generosity build the Church"

Monday, 25 January 2021 evangelization   missionary animation   mission  


Naandi (Agenzia Fides) - "The mission of the Church is continuous, the completion of one work being the beginning of the next". This is what Father Christopher Hartley Sartorius, a missionary in South Sudan, wrote to Fides. The priest, originally from the Diocese of Toledo, and currently working in the diocese of Tombura Yambio, says that, once the construction of the two schools is completed - the primary school of Saint Teresa and the secondary school of Saints Peter and Paul - from Naandi Parish, on the border between South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda, a project was immediately launched within the community of Djabio to build a school with eight classes, a parish church and a small presbytery.
"Currently in Djabio there is a parish school attended by about 350 boys and girls divided in eight courses", writes Fr. Christopher. "Each class is gathered in a straw hut with trunks placed on the ground which serve as chairs and tables for the children. There is also a small church that we would like to turn into a true parish church, where the whole community can come together to celebrate the faith and grow in holiness".
The missionary also points out that very often we think we know what the poor need. "We believe we have to decide what they need but we do not. They are the protagonists of their own history of salvation. God lives in them, among them, they are people of faith, who trust in God. In every community we visited they all asked us the same thing: a church, in addition to a school to help the wonderful children who populate these jungles".
"The project of these first two schools in Naandi - he explains - was carried out thanks to donations, large and small, but all full of love. The church is not built with cement or bricks, it is built from the proclamation of the Gospel, from the celebration of the Sacraments, from works of charity and love. It is we who, united to one another, not by cement but by love, are building the Church of Jesus Christ, of which this building is a metaphor and a place of encounter and of praise". (CHS/AP) (Agenzia Fides, 25/1/2021)