The Charge’ de’ Affaires of the Apostolic Nunciature of Vatican in Juba, H.E. Ionut Paul Strejac, paid a visit to Maban from Friday 2nd to Monday 5th, December 2022. He arrived in Maban at the invitation of JRS and Bishop Daniel Adwok M. Kur of Kosti Pastoral area. The Archdiocese of Khartoum is divided into territories of pastoral areas. The Kosti Pastoral area, erected in, 1985 cares for the parishes of Kosti, Kenana, Doueim, Sennar, Singa, Damazin, and Renk and Bunj in South Sudan.
The visitors, Monsignor Ionut Paul Strejac, Bishop Daniel Adwok M. Kur and Fr. Fredrick Meela, SJ were welcomed with song and dance by the excited faithful, pastors of other churches with their congregations, the parish council, the abunas and Mr. Felix, the PD of JRS Maban. The atmosphere was electric, one of joyous celebration with the choir belting out popular hymns.
The faithful cheered and ululated as the dignitaries approached the waiting crowd.
Monsignor Ionut Paul Strejac was crowned with a tagiye and he was given a safarook., the cultural regalia of Mabanese Tribe as they disembarked from the WFP Flight from Juba. After a brief prayer and blessing at the airstrip, the visitors proceeded to JRS compound with people marching in unison singing and ululating in front of the vehicles all the way.
The Monsignor interacted with ALC learners immediately after his arrival in JRS compound. In the afternoon he paid courtesy visits to the office of the commissioner and UNHCR. The discussions covered topics such as recent floods, long history of Catholic Church in the area, the need for a Church administered secondary school, and a short briefing on UN operation in the area and security issues. The Monsignor informed the commissioner’s office that the Holy Father Pope Francis will be visiting South Sudan from February 3-5, 2023 accompanied by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. We concluded the day with a celebration of the Holy Mass in JRS compound.
On Saturday, the feast of St. Francis Xavier, Abuna Frederick celebrated the Holy Mass for us all in JRS chapel. After breakfast, the Monsignor together with some parishioners visited Doro Camp. He witnessed glimpses of JRS operation there such as providing physical therapy to children, and acrobat display by selected youths. JRS Occupational Therapist Ms. Winnie Nandwa was the chief guide in briefing him about JRS activities. The delegation proceeded to the Nila Center of St. Mark’s Parish where he met with the faithful from Nila and surrounding areas. The poor state of roads in these areas make travels a rough ride. In the evening, JRS officially hosted Monsignor and the bishop at dinner. The bishop gave a brief narrative of the humble beginnings of JRS in Maban, and the Monsignor encouraged the staff members that it is finally certain passion and love in service of the poor is what impels us all to be here.
Later in the day, the Monsignor met with leaders of parish council which was concluded with a well prepared dinner in CAFOD Compound.
On Monday he paid a courtesy visit to St. Mark’s Primary School. He returned to Juba in the afternoon!