Thursday, December 17, 2009

Thanksgiving greetings

Nov. 26, 2009

Father Michael Barton sent this collage from St. Teresa Parish.

The collage is a composite of photos taken during the 75th anniversary celebration of the parish and the trip to open the school and chapel in Marial Baai, all in October.

I wanted to let you know that I have received a huge donation from Dubai which will allow the start of the church in Gok Macar before the end of the year.

We had a visit of the Superior General of the Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart who came to Sudan to visit her sisters in Mapuordit and here in Nyamlell but she missed a plane and so was here for only two days. We killed a bull and had a school Mass and did a play and had dance and song to welcome her.

I am inviting the teachers and sisters and catechists and parish workers for Thanksgiving tomorrow and then to watch HOOK as a thanksgiving for their work and cooperation. We'll have beef and a simple meal and prayer.

Michael Barton

Sunday, October 25, 2009

75th Anniversary photos

Father Michael Barton, pastor of St. Teresa Parish, Nyamlell, South Sudan, sent these photos from the parish's Oct. 4, 2009, 75th anniversary celebration and other activities. To read more about the event, go to the post below.

Alleluia Dancers

Bishop Caesar

Blessing of Chapel 4

Boat apostolate

Church on Lol River


Comboni Day, Nyamlell

Entertainment Oct. 4, 2009, Marial Baai

Father Pax and choirs

Gov. Paul Malong

Gov. Paul Malong with boys in uniforms of 75 years ago

Marial Baai

Old chapel in Marial Baai

Papal blessing

75th anniversary parade

Priests at the anniversary celebration

Recollection Day, April 24, 2008

Sacred Heart celebration

School prepared for the 75th celebration

Shrine on the Lol River

Typical apostolate

Monday, October 19, 2009

An exciting year at St. Teresa Parish, Nyamlell

(photo of Father Michael and a sister)

Saint Teresa Parish, Comboni Missionaries

Nairobi, Kenya, Oct. 13, 2009

Dear Friends of mine and the missions,

I t has been a very long time for me to sit and write a letter to you or anyone else. While I am sorry about the delay, I do think you will understand a bit more after reading these paragraphs. It has been an exciting year and with results that I never expected. Most of February and March and most of January were given over to safari work and sacrament giving in our many outstations. I did go to Juba fort the first time after a twenty-two year absence. I went to make a retreat which never took place but I did have visits with many who I thought would have forgotten me but hadn’t to my happy surprise. I got back to Nyamlell after just four days away and I found people celebrating the anniversary of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. I was carrying with me all the money for the building of Saint Catherine Activity Centre and Saint Joseph Chapel in Marial Baai and I was carrying in two bags and they told me to put it in the cargo and I said that I couldn’t and they asked what was in it and so I said, ‘money’ and they said, ‘please go ahead’ and so you see money talks.

I carried those bags every second that day, I got home to the mission quite late and I secured the money in several places and none of them was my room and I went to Cordaid to send some messages and found no watchman anywhere in our compound or that of the sisters, and sure enough that night thieves broke the locks on three of our stores and woke me and I got up and they ran not taking anything, I spent the whole of the next day fixing the doors and I did all by walking as I had given the car for the work in Marial Baai. That was a tough day and I fired the watchmen and got new ones and I got doors welded and fixed with inside and outside locks.

The next day after the Sunday Liturgy, I rode the bike to Marial Baai and got the truck and I tried to get the government officials to help me with the people grabbing the mission land and cutting our trees and making bricks and hence eroding the river banks on Church land which was formerly very big but now very little is left and so I suffer from trying to defend the little left. Anyway it was all for nothing, nice talk and promises but no action. Such is life in South Sudan.

However I must say South Sudan has never been so prosperous with a much improved market, better and more roads and even bridges and regular flights and public transport like never before and also with prices like never before, but the years of peace have been so much better than the years of war.

I went for a few days to Raga which is run by Combonis from the North Sudan who are really Southerners at heart and got the car repaired at eye popping prices.

School got underway on April first and I got a few new teachers and was able to open two class ones and got class seven opened in Marial Baai and class five in Makwei with the girls from that class already married off during the dry season. Best of all were able to start Sacred Heart High School with a very good class who when in class eight took first place in the state. For Easter we had a visit of some Mapuordit friends Lino and his wonderful wife and Sister Mary and Sister Rita made our Easter even more glorious and memorable. Our OLSH are just the best decorators in the entire world. After Easter we went to buy material for the banners for the 75th Celebration. Also the Governor of the state came on Good Friday and we had the Way of the Cross with him and the school and afterwards made a big pitch for him to be here on the first of October for the 75th, first school, first baptism first evangelization and he gave me a thousand Sudanese pounds for our work here.

From then on that celebration and its intense preparation was foremost in the background as we did everything else in running the school and parish. I started to prepare to have all the doors painted as well as the windows and painted red at that. I had to contract it out and the children scarped it off whenever they could for reasons only children know. It made the compound look wonderful. All this time the work is going on in Marial Baai and Laurence coming at the end of every month to pay the workers who turned out to be mostly Dinka women and I was able to order every thing through the same contractors who painted the windows and I ever got better windows for the school there and even three new doors for the rectory. So all I was doing was paying with that money that I had brought from Juba and it was enough with the local contributions to do all the work which finish in early July and was put it into immediate use as two class rooms and in the evening as Christian Education place and on Saturday as choirs and so much more and on Sunday as the place of worship for the sizeable Catholic community there.

Well, we paid everything with the hope that an NGO would pay us well after we set all our reports they gave us the shaft and would not and didn’t give us a penny or even a piaster. “ That’s a church” and would not give any of the promised money and it took me time to give over it but now it is all in the past. Even this was part of the 75th celebration as is the first permanent chapel built in the entire state and the first one of cement and zinc sheets since the Comboni brothers built the three parish churches in the 1950’s. So we put the dedication date on the Sunday after the 75th celebration but I said the first Mass in one Sunday afternoon in late June with Laurence and the ladies and our good Sisters and they loved it and were very much full of praise and thanks.

We celebrated the feast of the high school and ours of the Combonis and the Daughters by the riverside at the outdoor shrine of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on the feast of the Sacred Heart and had school and afterwards the High School organized a very nice dancing competition and then cooked dinner and served it to the school staff. I told you that they were a good class.

Then in May one of the Sisters left for Nairobi, and then France, to do a course on their founder and the spirituality of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart. She came back in mid September and while she was away a young man from Mapuordit came and taught and lived with Stephen Muli (a Kenyan teacher) and myself.

On the very day she left someone broke my door and stole my laptop, and nothing else. It happened during the day when we were all in class. I found my door open at noon when I came back for breakfast. Well I had gotten a lot of information on the history of the parish to prepare a booklet on the history of the 75 years and it was in Italian and downloaded into the computer and now gone. Well once again it was trips to the police and all for nothing.

I never got it back. But the Superior of the sisters lets me use hers and I began the downloading again and I worked at night and wrote many documents with pictures.

We had our exams in early August and started the second semester and late August we took a two week holiday and Muli went to Kenya for three weeks and the substitute back to Mapuordit and then to the join the university in Khartoum. I drove to Wau and stayed with the Combonis there and had a delightful ten days with those fine confreres and I got my booklet put together and even printed by the Salesians there who have a printing press. On top of that I found a young Salesian who was from our parish and I talked him into coming for the Seventy fifth. He did mange to come.

Before going to Wau Two primary students had finished the 18 banners for each centre and each school. They were so neat that everyone was impressed. It took many weeks but the result was great. The youth did so much planning that I stayed out of it and they chose a new place and I had to repair an slab of a former building and cleaned an huge area with lots of trees and shade and to repair some of the Church windows and then I got the best banner maker to paint the façade of the church and church door and then above the door a HEART and a CROSS. Then I kept a class after school every day to slash grass and remove the paper and bottles in this throw it down society and they gave me a rough time but they knew deep down that it was going to be big. School was going on and some sisters from Mapuordit came and help us and observed the school and gave helpful tips to every teacher. Then the youth outdid themselves and got 8 bulls and 12 goats donated and I gave one myself and rice and oil and someone else gave ten bags of sorghum which we had to grind and we were underway when we heard that governor was giving four more bulls which the teachers tried to steal and we did not get those bulls till after the feast. Everyone had work and they did it and so everything was not on me.

On the 30th of September, in the evening, the bishop came and people from every where and they started to sing and mesh together. The priests and sisters who came had dinner with the bishop in my dinning room and the we had a vigil for those interested and 7.5 decades of the rosary and then all the while a power point presentation of the parish history and I spoke to one boy in class six and he used the microphone with such enthusiasm that it set the crowd alive too. I ran out of material but they wanted to go on all night. But that is impossible for me now at 61.

Before sunrise it started to rain and hard. NO, NO. NO. But to my relief it stopped and turned into a beautiful day.

We wanted to start the parade at 10 but by 8 they were marching and cheering but we got to the riverside and a little late started. I had the bishop by the sisters’ gate and the other priests (eight) and I told the bishop who was passing with their banners and they danced and cheered and I applauded them. It took more than an hour for them to pass and longer to get to the altar which had been decorated by the Sisters superbly. They I had 75 cards pass and each read by a student or catechist going from 1934 to 2009 with a little happening for that year all in the local language of Dinka. Then the Mass started with the readings proclaimed expertly and the homily of the bishop was great and we had guitars and a piano brought from Aweil and their sound system which everyone could hear when it worked.

Some estimated 6,000 souls with 100 chairs but at least there was plenty of shade and water from the river just right there. The bishop had brought a letter from the bishop of Wau and a papal blessing from Benedict himself. Then the parish priest of Aweil, a Dinka himself spoke and then the Commissioner and finally the Governor . Then lunch all prepared by the sisters and I presented the booklet and sold them at the printers cost.

We had prepared a play with four scenes which I had prepared with the classes 7 and 8 and the Form Ones and we presented it but not many were interested and the Governor had left and the bishop was in bed and the generator stolen but we got it back and showed the Bullfight by David Mulwa. I did not stay for much more of the entertainment as they did not need me but I knew that God had wanted this celebration or otherwise everything planned for would not have happened. So many people deserve so much credit. People were happy and celebrating.

· Friday we had school but it was half hearted and Saturday the Bishop installed a image of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in the church an he approved the building of the church of Gok Macar.

· Sunday, the road was washed out and we had to go to Marial Baai by boat and after a few minutes it sprang a leak and we had to pull over or other wise there would have been one drown bishop, and another drown America Comboni and five dead Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, but no we got ashore and after a long while got another boat and then on to Mangar Ater where we found two cars to take us to Marial Baai for the blessing of the Comboni School and Saint Catherine Activity Centre and Saint Joseph chapel. They killed another bull and the bishop did another fine job and there was another huge crowd and entertainment and another good meal all prepared by them and nothing by me but I did anoint many sick people while the entertainment went on. We had another boat ride back home on the beautiful, beautiful river. The Lol is always beautiful.

· Monday the bishop left and the visitors and we were back in school.

· But there were three Comboni Days – October 9th for the school, with baptisms and plenty of prayers and entertainment and on October 10m in Naivasha which is on the other side of Nyamlell with another gigantic congregation. Then October 11th in Adhal in Aweil North with Mass and baptisms and the Comboni presentation.

· What’s next? November 2nd the Mother General of the Sisters is coming to Sudan and to Nyamlell from Rome.

· Them after the final examinations there is the Diocese of Rumbek Youth Congress from December 18th to the 21st. which our youth is very much involved in along with the Sisters.

· Of course then Christmas and New Year and Certificate Days in all our schools and then the building of Saint William Chapel and Saint Julia Activity Centre in Gok Macar and is in year number 76.

Sincerely sorry for not writing sooner but you get the drift in Christ the Lord.

Father Michael D. Barton, mccj.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Nyamlell mission celebrates diamond jubilee

Over 5000 faithful celebrated on Oct. 1 the 75 years of St. Theresa’s Nyamlell Mission in Western Bahr El Ghazal State, South Sudan.

Youths from four counties joined in huge numbers their peers from the 35 centers of the Nyamlell mission and formed a one-hour long parade, before the celebration of the Mass on the shores of the Lol River.

St. Theresa’s Nyamlell Diamond Jubilee celebrations were presided over Bishop Caesar Mazzolari of Rumbek.
He was joined by priests, sisters, a huge crowd and many civil and religious authorities including Governor Paul Malong.

Bishop Mazzolari said during his homily that the golden era of Nyamlell’s evangelization started with the arrival of Comboni Missionaries Fathers Michael Barton and late Raymond Pax joined by a community of sisters from Indonesia. In eight years, they were able to restore the church, the priests and sisters’ house, the primary and secondary schools and the health center.

Bishop Mazzolari added that the first 30 years, from 1934 to 1964, represented the era of planting and the transformation of Nyamlell into one of the three leading education centers of South Sudan together with Kuajok, and Mayom Abun, now known as Thiet.

He recalled the pioneering 16 Comboni fathers, brothers and sisters who served Nyamlell during this period.
Bishop Mazzolari said the expulsion of all Catholic expatriate missionaries in 1964 together with the Missionary Act inaugurated a 30-year period marked by the martyrdom, in hatred of the faith, of the Comboni missionary Barnaba Deng and the saintly blind Catechist Joseph Ayom.

It was the dark but heroic period of isolation and survival in the faith through the staunch courage and faithfulness of gigantic catechists and persevering Christian parents.

Western Bahr El Ghazal Governor, Paul Malong, exhorted the faithful to continue to come and find in the church the true center of personal peace and communal reconciliation.

St. Theresa’s Nyamlell Diamond Jubilee celebrations were crowned with the presentation of a Papal Blessing to Father Barton, the entire Christian community, the catechists and missionary personnel for their faithfulness to God's Church and commitment to evangelization.

Monday, September 28, 2009

These photos reflect the history of the founding and mission of St. Teresa of the Child Jesus in Nyamlell, presented as the parish celebrates its 75th anniversary in October 2009. To read more about the history of the parish, go to blog entries below.

Father Olivetti in 1934

General governor visits Nyamlell in 1946

The first building, 1935

St. Teresa and her Dinka admirers

Brother Raimondi pretending to be a DDS

The beginning of the mission

A young man

Father Alberglisi and the local chief in 1940

A pastoral visit in 1947

The first school in the state, 1934

The River Lol

Crossing the River Lol

Walking in the flooded places

The church in 1954

An old woman

Father Olivetti with parish catechists

Making bricks

The rectory in 1950

Comboni missionaries in Nyamlell in 1955

Comboni Missionary Sisters in Nyamlell, including Sister Sidonia (right), who is nearly 100 years old, lives in the state capital and is ready to go to the Lord.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A brief history of St. Theresa Parish

St. Theresa Parish will celebrate its Diamond Jubilee -- 75 years -- On Oct. 1, 2009, with a Mass of the Patroness, entertainment and lunch. You are invited!

A brief history of St. Theresa Catholic Church
Nyamlell (Aweil West)
Northern Bahr el Gazhal State
South Sudan

By Fr. Michael D. Barton, MCCJ.

There were definite plan to send Missionaries in 1927 but the Church authorities and the Superiors of the Comboni Missionaries changed their minds because Dem Zuber needed personal. Actually from documents beginning 1921 the Commissioner of Aweil asked missionaries to come.

So it was not till six years later that the Fathers arrived from Kwajok and in 1933 there were Muslims and a good number of Muslim Sympathizers who were mostly soldiers and government officials and a small number of Dinka Malual and a smaller number of Christians baptized in Kuajok.

The paramount chief was also badly disposed to the Catholic Mission and to their schools or any schools in the area.

Not with standing these difficulties it was on Ascensions Day 1933 three Combonis came to visit and celebrated the first Mass here and chose the site for the first Catholic Mission in the area now known as Northern Bahr el Gazhal or the then Districts of Aweil and Ariath.

A word must be said about these three great men who came to open the mission here. Father Angelo Arpe was later to become a martyr of the Catholic Faith as he was killed in Mboro on November 1st 1946 rather then break the seal of confession.
The other Father Eduardo Mason, a renounced educationist, was later one of the founders of the North American Province of the Comboni Missionaries and than in
1946 became the Bishop of Wau and then gave way for Bishop Ireneo Wien Dud Akot to take over the Wau Diocese and so went and became the first Bishop of El Obeid in Northern Sudan but was expelled from the Sudan in 1964.

Father Giuliano Ignazio Alghisi, who in 1934 really started the tough work of opening a new mission and became one of the first priests of Nyamlell along with talented Brother Julius Raimondo.

The first parish priest was the Reverend Father Nicoleo Olivetti with Brother Raimondi came to stay on 18th January 1934. A bell was put up on March 17th. 1934 and the Blessed Sacrament reserved. At the beginning of May came Father Alghisi and the first school year started with formal education with 12 pupils and then 25 but never passed 40.

There was little cooperation from the chiefs of the area to support the mission or to send their sons to school.

The great chief Majak, son of Akot, nephew of the great chief Ciak-Ciak. was very hostile to the missionaries and to the mission and on one day in 1936, as he was seated on is tribunal in a village just a few kilometres from the mission, and influenced greatly by beer said with a very loud voice that the missionaries were his slaves and he could and would put them in prison for lack of respect to his dignity any time that he pleased.

The very next day on ex-police men who had been unjustly imprisoned by the chief, rose up and killed the chief with a spear. Chief Majak’s body was brought to the mission on the way to his home village for burial when the fathers came out and prayed for his soul. This gave a good impression to the people of the area.
From 1934 to 1946 the total number of baptized in this 12 year period was right around 400 which is an average of about 33 baptisms per year. The school was frequented by only 60 – 90 boys per year in the best to 40 in the worst years. Tribal wars and conflicts also disturbed the mission many times. Those 12 years were tough and the fathers found the mud and flooded area quite difficult to get around on by bicycle or by car.

Few places welcomed them or accepted the Christian message .It must be noted that, Peth was the first to be opened to the gospel message. Then an old Dinka Malual woman had a dream near Nyamlell.

The Dinka believed is a supreme Divinity who helps them and their herds of cattle. So God – Nhialic and St. Theresa can continue to help and protect this same people of the Lol River and beyond.

One night an old lady – alone in the village in the area of Nyamlell- went to sleep in the same hut where her father had died and in a dream. So her dead father appeared to her and told her to go the mission. “What am I going to get there?” She asked him respectfully. The dead parent answered. “Good Mysterious water.” “The mission is the seat of God.” “The water of God which is good for your soul.”
She slept till morning and than went to talk to the father in the mission church who she had never met. Slowly but surely she and a group of old women joined a special catechumenate where they brought their children and grandchildren so Christianity began in our parish from above and not from below as it should have often when the fathers would go, to a new village, the village children would call out from afar: “ They have come to eat us.” People were very suspicious of the white missionaries every movement. They moved by bicycle, on foot. by a car or by boat to take Jesus every where in the 2 Districts under them to more then 150,000 people populating the area. They crossed the River Lol, waded through flooded plains for miles at a time sleeping in cattle camps, eaten by mosquitoes and affected by malaria and other tropical diseases, sleeping in huts and eating what is given them. At times even crossing the swamps with crocodiles; and also enjoying the wild game that was present then and sharing in the fishing festivals on the River Lol and other places that the Malual love so much. They went on the mission with joy in order to establish the Catholic Church of Christ and the Apostles in the South Sudan.
In 1946 a new District Commissioner was appointed, and he ordered the locals chiefs to collaborate with the mission and this gave impetus to increase the number of our schools and our chapels and even. indirectly to the number of Christians in the parish.

1946 also saw the Church built and Fr. Ercole De Marchi said the first Mass in it and dedicated it to Saint Theresa of the Child Jesus and became the first of Parish dedicated to her in the whole of the Sudan but was much later followed by the Cathedral of Juba in Kator, and later too the Cathedral in Arusha, Tanzania and Kisumu, Kenya. Fr. De Marchi died in Kampala in 1958 at 63 years of age.

In 1947 came Father Zecchen who would share with more the 500 fishermen all along the river in the fishing festivals.

In 1948 – came Fr. Joseph Cavallera and saw a growth of the school in Nyamlell to 128 and he started three out schools: a) Aguat b) Marial Baai and c) Ricithiec. Then in July to September he visited and spent the 3 months in Gok Macar walking in mud up to his neck. Then in Christmas of 1948 there were four baptisms from there.

April 1949 the school grew to 137 boys in Nyamlell and the same month of April 1949 the Governor General of the Sudan came from Khartoum to visit Nyamlell. He stayed in mission two days.

The school grew in Nyamlell to 137 and Fr. Calavera came to spend a week in the school of Marial Baai (25) and Aguat (50).

August of 1949 saw the fathers’ house and the church started in Mading Aweil, which is now the parish of Saint George.

Also here in Nyamlell on the 22nd November 52 children were baptised. In this same year 200 people were killed not far from Nyamlell due tribal and clan conflicts.

In the same 1949 was also the year that 5 boys indicated a desire to enter seminary of Bussere near Wau.

1950 – September 3rd, 1950 five lions visit the mission and visited all the dormitories of the schools.

1950 Christmas –There was a big gathering of over 500 Christians, pagans and chiefs. Many games and plays were performed but it was a cold Christmas. The chiefs gave 4 bulls.

17 October 1950 was first film ever shown in Nyamlell – showed by Father Simoni to great diversion and laughter.

4 November 1950, 30 were baptized.

1951 – 23 December, 52 baptisms

December 27th, 1951 coming from Aweil to Nyamlell for a few days rest and about 15 kilometres away from Nyamlell, Father Zannetti shot 2 elephants and 80 boys went to bring back the meat to the mission. The Christmas feast went on for many days.

Another very important event of 1952 was on February 24th 1952 with the Christians blessing of the River and its surrounding and not just the pagan traditions and was done with the permission and encouragement of the District Commissioner and led to the building of the present Shrine of the Sacred Heart of Jesus over looking the Lol River. It caused quite a controversy at the time between traditionalists and Christians.

The very next day on February 25th, 1952, there was a total eclipse of the sun by the shadow of the moon at 10:00 a.m. which lasted for 10 minutes. The local population of Nyamlell called out “apeth” as the sun was darkened and threw spears to kill the evil spirit which had taken the light away.

On the 17 April, 1952 there was a very serious out break of meningitis all ever the whole of the parish.

1st May the school year started with 245 children in six classes.

June 10th 1952 A Comboni Girls School opened by the Comboni Missionary Sisters with 35 girls. November 22nd the Sisters house and the girls’ dormitories were completed and ready for use.

December 23rd 1952, 52 boys were baptised and they were mostly from the school.

December 25th 1952 was another big Christmas celebration.

4 January 1953 - They was a great Marian Pilgrimage came to Nyamlell with the theme that Mary must prepare the way for her son to enter into the Dinka Culture.

22 January the school children went home for their long holiday and some of them walked for more than 100 kilometres.

1953 and onwards the school continued normally for period of nine months.

Others came to the mission for school and others came to live in the mission to receive Christian Doctrine Instruction. They world rise early and would go to the Church for Morning Prayer and to share in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass which was always in Latin.

Then there would be one hour of Catechism teaching and breakfast would be served at 9:00 a.m. Work would be done in the mission garden and farm to 12.00. These gardens and field provided enough for the catechumens to eat and the school children too.

At 3:00 there would be Bible Studies followed by another hour of Catechism Teaching. Sports would be played from 5:00 – 6:30; At 7:00 there would be Rosary and Litany and Evening prayers. The teaching was given all in the mother tongue.

The Catechism was taught and the catechumen was prepared for Baptism, Confession and Holy Communion. These Catechumens would come from all over Aweil and Ariath, as Gordhim and Aweil began to function as mission-parishes beginning in the mid 1950’s. Before that everyone came to Nyamlell.

It was under Bishop Rudolph Orler that Nyamlell was founded in 1934 and he visited Nyamlell many times till his death in 1946. Bishop Mason took over in l946 and is reported to enjoy coming to Nyamlell to eat the papayas and eat the sweet fish of the River Lol. He once stated that Mading Aweil is for administration but Nyamlell is for the pastoral work.

1954 started the movement of independence and it was clear the Arabs were to be given control of the South Sudan.

This began to cause unrest. 1955 the church continued to take the root. Yet unrest among youth and intellectual was evident.

1956 the Sudan became united as one country and independence was granted to it.
1957 the Arab present was more and more felt and there were many restrictions on the missionaries Baptisms were restricted.

1958 the influence of the missionaries was greatly resented and the schools were nationalized. This was considered quite a blow to the Church.

1959 the fathers could not work in the schools and more time were given to visit the outstations and to work with prayer leaders and catechists.

1960 the Missionaries Act was in forced and more restriction were placed on the Foreign Priests, Brothers and Sisters.

1961 Bishop Mason left Wau for El Obeid and Bishop Ireneo Dud left Rumbek which he had founded in 1955 to take over Wau. He visited Nyamlell often and spoke Dinka well.

1962. The fathers were more and more restricted but still in the Church grew in many ways. Anyanya One spread from Equatoria to Bahr el Gazhal to Upper Nile and the Arab Governor accused the foreign missionaries of spreading this disunity.

1963. There was fighting in many areas and disrupted the schools but the pastoral work continued.

1964. February 29th of that year the fathers and brothers with all the CMS. Sisters are taken to Wau for immediate expulsion from the South and from the Sudan. Bishop Dud saw them off from Wau to Juba with tears in his eyes and then on to Khartoum and out of the Sudan.

1965. Fr. Barnabas Deng stayed as the only Catholic priest around and came to Nyamlell a few times from Aweil. After Fr. Angelo Arpe, Father Deng was the second Comboni martyr in the South Sudan and both had worked in Nyamlell. Father Barnabas was shot and killed near Wau on August 28th of 1965 by the military and his body never found.

1966. Very few visits both the missions of Gordhim and Nyamlell were badly looted mainly by the locals but also by the Arab forces of Khartoum. Almost all the things were stolen or destroyed.

1967. Years of War and isolation.

1968. Bishop Ireneo Dut came to celebrate the sacraments in Nyamlell after several years of none.

1969. Communication cuts even going and coming to Aweil were difficult and sporadic.

1970. The Signs peace talks gave hopes to many Southern Sudanese.

1971. Peace agreement of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

1972 – 1974 a few visits from the Sudanese priests in Aweil but very little Church life in the mission of Nyamlell.

1974. An old-boy of Nyamlell, Bishop Gabriel Zuber Wako became the bishop of Wau and Ireneo Wien Dut became Archbishop of Juba.

1975. All Vicariates in Sudan becomes dioceses and all the missions became parishes.

1976. Bishop Zuber and priests from Aweil come to visit but no parish priest is able to move to the now destroyed dilapidated mission compound.

1978 - 1981 Situation changed very little. Communication and travel became easier. Father of Aweil would come to visit Nyamlell – Day visits from time to time.

1981. Sudan celebrated the century of the death of Bishop Daniel Comboni, 1881 to 1981. Nyamlell old boy, Bishop Zuber leaves Wau and became the second Archbishop of Khartoum.

1982. Fr. Joseph Nyekindi became Bishop of Wau.

1983. Bishop Nyekindi visited Nyamlell for a short visit.

1984. Bishop Edward Mason visits Nyamlell for a short visit during a tour of all Bahr el Gazhal before returning to Italy and retirement.

1985. Sudan celebrated its first Eucharistic National Congress in every parish and diocese and finally as a national church in Juba on the feast of Christ the King.

1986. Sign a new war begin to show themselves.

1987. Simon Wol and some elders repair some building to restart education and schooling in Nyamlell.

1988. Schools starts and stops, starts and stops.

1989. Many small chapels start.

1990. Protestant church make their presence felt in the area.

1991. Simon Wol Mawien led many young boys and youth to training comps in Ethiopia.

1992. SPLA grows in strength from strength in the South and in Nyamlell.

1993. Lack of security in the whole area of the parish.

1994. Villages attack and the people flee to Darfur and Kordofan.

1995. Bishop Rudolf Deng Majak takes over Wau. Bishop Nyekindi go to Aweil and then to Abiei.

1995. Fr. Joseph Pellerino and Brother Dominic spent a few months living and working in Nyamlell. Many Baptisms and much hope but all stopped when in March, Muralin attacked Nyamlell and neighbouring villages and Nyamlell was abandoned again.

1997. Fr. William Can Achuil began to visit Nyamlell from his base in Malual Kon.

1998. Fr. Can returns to visit Adhal, Marial Baai, Peth etc. Many baptisms were performed.

1999. Bishop Caesar Mazzolari visited twice and on his visit on Palm Sunday has very serious heard problems.

2000. Jubilee Year; Young men are taken to Billing for training in Nursing School in Nyamlell opened again as a Church School and another in the old and another in the old convent as a government School. Fr. Mario and Fr. Benjamin Madhol Akot visit many areas the parish. This was all done under the auspices of the Diocese of Rumbek.

2001. Many catechists and teachers are sent for training to Kitale, Kenya as teachers and catechists.

2001. Fr. Thomas Oliha and Bishop Caesar visited for Christmas and over two thousand were baptised and confirmed, a new Pentecost in December for Nyamlell.

2002. Fr. Michael Barton begins work in school and in parish. Fr. Oman visits from Rumbek and baptised over 300 in Malual Loch, (ANC)

2003. Church repaired.

2004. School building repaired and revamped. John Goring de Maier visited in May 14th. CPA was welcomed in Nyamlell with much rejoicing and happiness.
DOR began clinic and then TB hospital in Nyamlell.

2005. Fathers’ House repaired in Nyamlell. Catechists had yearly training courses. First Class 8 in Nyamlell and scored # 1 in DOR and Marial Baai scored # 13.

2006. Sisters house repaired by Laurence and the coming of the OLSH Sisters from Indonesia. Second class 8 in Nyamlell and also scored # 1 in DOR and Marial Baai scored #11 and we also had the opening Sacred High School.
Cordaid take over some mission buildings and began their work.

2007. Other Schools open in Nyamlell. NGO’S become strong many catechists and teachers leave the Church work for them. There was the building of a permanent. School building in Marial Baai.

2008. High School building completed. 4 classrooms completed in Marial Baai. We celebrated the year of Saint Paul with Fr. Colombo. Class 8 Nyamlell scored # I in state primary external examinations. Goss starts to pay some teachers.

2009. Building of Saint Catherine Activity Centre of Marial Baai by Laurence and ladies. 75 years celebrated in our Parish of Nyamlell. There have been 15,737 entries and counting in the Baptismal Registration Book in the last eight years.
All mistakes and omissions and shortcomings in this brief history of our Parish of Nyamlell are mine.

The Catholic Church in Sudan


37AD Baptism of Queen Candace's Minister, - first Christian Sudanese Community in Meroe
284 First Monasteries in Phyle during the persecutions of Decius and Diocletian.
325 First Bishop of Phybyle (1st cataract).
350 Fall of Meroe by a king of Axum.
450 Silko, first Christian king of Ibrim
540 Three Christian Kingdoms exist : Nobatia (capital Faras), Makuria
(Capital Dongola), Alwa (capital Soba)
543 Priest Julianus evangelizes Faras
469 Bishop Longinus, organizes the church at Faras, then evangelizes Soba ( 580)
622 The Hijra, beginning of Muslim calendar.
638 The Arabs conquer Egypt; The religion of the rulers becomes the
Religion of the country.
638 The BAQT or Pact, an agreement between Christian Kings of Dongola and Muslim leaders in Egypt; it lasted up to 1275
745 Cyriacus (or Kyriakos ), King of Dongola, marches with a Christian army, up to Cairo to free the Capt Patriarch Mikhail kept
In prison by the Moslems.
785 First translations of the Bible in Arabic.
835 Girgis 1, King of Dongola, accompanied by his Christian Knights, Travels to Baghdad to deal with Caliph al-Mutasim on political matters.
1172 Salaheddin’s army defeats the Christian army of Dongola
1218 St. Francis of Assisi comes to Cairo and preaches to Sultan Mohammad bin Qalawoun.
1275 End of the BACT (652), Sudanese Christians have to pay the jizia
1317 The Royal Palace of Dongola, with the included church, is taken over as a mosque. Since 1323 Dongola is ruled by Moslem kings; Christian communities, however, continue to live on the land. A Bishop is still at Ibrim.
1484 Joel is Christian king (chief) at Jebel Adda.
1504 The Funj Kingdom rises in Sennar
1505 Soba falls to the Funj of Sennar (the ruins of the cathedral are still
Visible at Soba Sharq)
XVII c. News reaches Europe of Portuguese Christian in Roseires coming from Ethiopia; the Vatican repeatedly sends ambassadors to Sennar and Bornu (presuming it could be Kordofan)
1647 Franciscan missionaries in Sawakin
1699 – 1702: In Sennar and Eilafun, for continuous there years, there is a community of Franciscans.
1821 Mohammed Ali conquers the Sudan for Egypt.
1824 Khartoum is chosen as capital of Sudan
1831 St. Daniel Comboni is born in Limone sul Garda (Italy)
1842 First Catholic school in Khartoum by Fr. L. Montuori CM; the seed of the future Comboni School.
1846 Khartoum becomes the centre of the new Vicariate Apostolic of Central Africa; Bishop A. Casolani was appointed as responsible be resigns before leaving for Khartoum; after him no bishop are appointed up to 1877.
1850 Mgr. Knoblecker and missionaries are the first Europeans to reach
Jebel Lado (Rejaf).
1853 A church is started at Gondokoro, short North of Juba.
1854 A church is started at Abu Koka ( Holy Cross of Shambe, Bor)
1857 Daniel Comboni comes to Sudan for the first time
1862 A church is started at Kaka, Upper Nile
1862 The Mission of Central Africa is administered by the Apostolic Vicar of Egypt up to 1872. During this period missionaries Franciscans are present only in Khartoum.
1865 First Sudanese priest of modern times, Fr. Bona Youseph Habash, from Blue Nile Province.
1866 The first grammar of Dinka and Bari Languages, prepared by the missionaries and natives, is printed at Brixen, South Tyrol.
1869 St. Bakhita is born in Al-Gossa, Dafur
1871 A church is started in El Obeid.
1872 The Mission of Central Africa becomes independent from Egypt again; Fr. Daniel Comboni arrived to Khartoum as Apostolic. Provicar.
1874 A church is started in Berber and Dilling (Nuba Mountains).
1877 Fr. Daniel Comboni becomes the first Bishop of Khartoum.
1881 June : the rise of the Mahdi starts:
1881 October: Bishop Comboni dies in Khartoum.
1882 The Mahdist revolution, non as the Mahdiya; spreads in Kordofan,
A number of priests and sisters of Dilling and El Obeid are taken
Prisoners: some of them for more than 10 years. Church work is completely destroyed.
1885 Khartoum in conquered and destroyed by the Mahdi; Omdurman is the new capital.
1885 A church is started in Suakin.
1890 St. Bakhita is baptised in Italy.
1898 End of the Mahdiya.
1899 Comboni Missionaries, priests and sisters, come back to Omdurman and Khartoum. Catholic Church School reopens.
1901 Church of Lul (Upper Nile)
1902 The Servant of God Bishop A.M. Roveggio dies in Berber
1904 Church of Kayango and Mbili (Bahr of Gazhal)
1905 First government law to control the church. The colonial government divides the country into zones of religious influence: North of 10th Parallel, to Islam; South of that, a zone each to the British Missionary Societies, to Catholics and to the America Mission
1911 The railway, built to support the reconquest of Sudan by Britain, reaches Khartoum on the newly built bridge on the Blue Nile at the Khartoum North
1912 Church of Mupoi (West quatoria)
1913 Wau becomes see of a Bishop ( Ap.Prefecture, 1917 Ap. Vicariate)
1919 Church of Rejaf (Bahr el Jebel)
1920 Church of Torit (Imatong)
1926 The Servant of God Sr. Zeinab Alif dies in Serra de Conti (Italy)
1927 Juba becomes see of a Bishop (Ap. Prefecture, 1951 Ap. Vicariate)
1928 Okaru (Bahr el Gebel), the first minor seminary in Sudan
1928 Start of the first University College in Sudan, former Gordon College
1929 The former Catholic Church School is reorganized as Comboni College (for boys) and Sisters School (for girls) in Khartoum.
1933 Malakal becomes see of a Bishop (Missio sui-juris, 1938 Ap. Prefecture, 1974 Diocese)
1942 Foundation of the first Sudanese Sisters Society, the Sisters of Nazareth, in Wau.
1944 First three Sudanese priests of modern time.
1947 Juba Conference, to decide the future of the South.
1947 Bl. Bakhita dies in Schio (Italy).
1949 Mupoi (West Equatoria) bocomes see of a Bishop (Ape. Prefecture, and in 1974, Diocese).
1952 Foundation of the first Sudanese Brothers Society, St. Martin de Pores, Juba.
1955 First Sudanese Bishop, H.E. Ireneo Dud Wien
1955 Rumbek becomes see of a Bishop (Ap. Vicariate, 1974 Diocese)
1956 Tore (Yei), the first National Major Seminary
1957 Societies Registration Act, 1957. This act was repeatedly amended, and in 1994 it was amended again to control the churches.
1957 All church school in the South are nationalized : they were the only schools on the land
1958 Military Government
1960 El Obeid becomes see of a Bishop (Ap. Vicariate, 1974 Diocese)
1962 Second government law to control the churches; the 1962 Missionary Act.
1964 All expatriate missionaries are expelled from Southern Sudan
1964 Democratic Government
1969 Military Government
1969 Diplomatic Vatican relation (Ap. Delegation) with the Sudan are established
1972 Addis Ababa Agreement; autonomy of South Sudan
1972 Sudan Embassy is established with the Vatican; the Ap. Delegation becomes Nunciature.
1973 The first Permanent Constitution is adopted, as a one party state.
1974 Sudanese Hierarchy; two archdioceses and five dioceses; all Bishops are Sudanese.
1981 Hundred years after Comboni’s death, a Sudanese becomes Archbishop of Khartoum.
1983 Torit becomes diocese.
1983 Promulgation of the Shari a Islamic Law.
1983 End of South Sudan autonomy; - the problem of the displaced revives.
1984 First National Eucharistic Congress
1985 Transitional Military Government.
1986 Yei becomes diocese.
1986 Democratic Government
1989 Military Government
1992 Bakhita is declared Blessed
1993 Pope John Paul II visits the Sudan
1994 Third government law to control the churches; the Miscellanea Amendment Act 1994 (amendment of the Societies Registration Act 1957)
1994 Second National Eucharistic Congress
1996 Bishop Daniel Comboni is declared Blessed
1996 Comboni Year starts – preparation to the Jubilee 2000.
1999 St. Bakhita, canonization in May.
1999 100 Years of the modern Catholic Community in Sudan.
1999 Silver Jubilee of the Sudanese Hierarchy
2003 October 5: Canonization of St. Daniel Comboni
2003 October 21: H.G. the Archbishop of Khartoum, Gabriel Zuber Wako, is created Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church.
2005 April 19: Election of Pope Benedict XVI. The Church of the Sudan joined in the election through the vote of her Cardinal


By Father Michael D, Barton, MCCJ, Parish Priest

It is wonderful to celebrate the 75 years of the foundation of our mission and parish of Nyamlell in 2009.
Seventy-five years have in them:

2,366,820,000 seconds;
39,447,000 minutes;
657,450 hours;
27,393.75 days;
3,900 weeks;
900 months;
75 years;
But 1 faith, 1 Lord, 1 Trinity God, 1 Church for all ages.

Each of the seconds, minutes, days ,weeks, months and years has its meaning and is now part of ordinary history and as well as the History of Salvation.

These 75 years make our state and its five counties and our country become part and parcel of the Body of Jesus Christ. The Son of God has become one with us. We are grateful and very happy that the Catholic Church has become part of the life in our state and its counties and their villages and towns.

Grace and reconciliation is present in the preaching of the gospel, in the pastoral work, of the priests, sisters, brothers and our wonderful catechists in all our chapels and centres.

The Lord is present in education both primary and secondary and schools are known as “pan abun” and still a source of evangelization.

He is present in the fine health care offered by many organizations such as AAA, CORDAID, CONCERN, etc.

He is present in PEACE and the CPA as He never left us in war-two of them- the Lord Jesus went too with the displaced that went to Nyala or Kakuma as went as with the young recruits who became soldiers in Bill Farm or in Ethiopia and back to the Sudan again.

Two long wars and no priests but still with the local catechists Jesus continued to establish his church even with thousands of displaced, so many killed and more injured, lost boys, split up families and ruined villages all became part of His Calvary waiting for the Easter Light.

Jesus lives. He and the Church are rising into eternity.

Thank you for these seventy-five years and as a parish dedicated to Saint Teresa we continue to march forward witnessing to the life giving gospel of Jesus Christ.


1933 Fr. Angelo Arpe died 1946 @ 60 years of age.
Fr. Edward Mason “ 1989 @ 86
Fr. Giuliano Alghisi “ 1999 @ 96
Bro. Giulio Rainondi “ 1991 @ 86

1935 Fr. Nicolao Olivetti “ 1964 @ 79
Fr. Giuliano Alghisi
Bro Giulio Raimondo

1938 Fr. Arturo Nebel “ 1981 @ 92
Fr. Fulvio Consorti “ 1969 @ 63
Bro. Galliano Peruzzi “ 1940 @ 40 years of age in Wau.

1941 – 1944 Not clearly Known

1947 Fr. Arturo Nebel
Fr. Pier Paolo Golin “ 1980 @ 76
Bro. Giulio Raimondi

1949 Fr Paolo Golin
Fr. Giuseppe Cavallera died 2000 @ 86
(in the school)
Fr. Pietro Zecchin “ 2005 @ 91

1951 Fr. Silvio Bresson “ 1998 @ 86
Fr. Pietro Bartoli alive in Verona
Bro. Giosue Grismondi “ 1988 @ 80
1953 Not clearly known

1954 Fr. Carlo Brogini “ 1981 @ 77
Fr. Eminio Tanel alive in Arco

1955 Fr. Carlo Brogini “
Fr. Erminio Tanel
Bro. Renato Bastianelli “ 1994 @ 71
1956 Father Carlo Brogini
Fr. Erminio Tanel
Bro. Giovanni Cristele “ 2001 @ 91

1957 Fr. Giuseppe Gasparotto “ 1991 @ 81
Fr. Pier Paolo Golin
Bro. Giovanni Cristele

1958 Giuseppe Gasparotto
Fr. Mario Riva alive in Rome
Bro. Giovanni Cristele

1961 Fr. Giuseppe Cavallera
Fr. Valentino Bartolotti

1963 Fr. Giuseppe Calvallera
Bro. Giosue Crismondi

1964 All the missionaries were expelled from the missions of the South Sudan Feb 29th, 1964.

1965 In these years from Aweil Fr. Barnabas Deng came some times.
Was killed near Wau @ 29 years of age
1970 Some Fathers of the Diocese of Wau came for short visits from Aweil
Town. Fr. Rudolf Deng Majak and others.

1980’s the situation remained the same up to 1993

1993 Fr. Joseph Pellerino alive in Tali
Bro. Dominico Cariolato alive in Rome

1995 Fr. William Can came for visits from his base in Gordhim and Malual Kon. He is alive and working in Juba.

1997 Fr. Mario Riva
Fr. Benjamin Madhol Akot came from their base in Marial Baai. He is alive and working as a military chaplain in Juba

1998 – 2001, Fr. Thomas Oliha other Apostles of Jesus came from their base in Gordhim. He is alive and in Juba.

Bishop Caesar Mazzolari came many times for Confirmation and Pastoral visits from 1993 up to present.

2002 Father Michael D. Barton

2002 Fr. Andrea Osman came for two safaris

2006 – 2008 Fr. Raymond L. Pax who died in Nyamlell on March 31st, 2008 @ 69 years of age.

2007 and 2009 Bishop Deng came for pastoral visits.



Sr. M. Orazia Di Stefano
13. 6. 1952 – 1960 in Verona.

Sr. Firmina Fusi
25. 11. 1953 - 1958 - Erba Co.

Sr. M. Annita Peloso
10. 01. 1958 – 1964 - Verona Casa Combov

Sr. M. Chiarapia Dalassabro
26. 02 – 1960 – 1963 Pescara

Sr. M. Clara Aravecchia
01. 01 – 1961 – 1964 Verona Casa Combov

Sr. M. Antonia Salaro
01. 01 – 1962 – 1963 Verona Casa Madre


Sr. Sandrina Bordanini
13. 6. 1952 - 1959

Sr. Cloninda Zarantonello
13.6. 1952 – 1963

Sr. Matilde Genlini
7. 5. 1959 – 1960

Sr. Angiola Baroni
18. 11. 1959 – 1963

Sr. Rosa Lisa Vantina
16. 06. 1963 – 1964

Come on Holy Thursday
April 14, 2006 up to the present:

1. Sister Jevianna Orojo
2. Sr. Ernestina Tandisebok
3. Sr. Jeanne Futwembun

The first Christians -- Nyamlell

A memory, April 19, 2009

This statement below was given by Peter Col Marcelino. He was a commander in SPLA and now has been transferred to Wildlife.

In 1934, the first Christians to be baptised and the first students from Nyamlell were Marcelino Tong Lual and Andriano Thiek Lual. Marcelino was then the only student to go to college in Malakal and became a veterinary doctor from Aweil – NBUS.
In 1964, 30 years later, Andriano Thiek was arrested by Arab soldiers along with 12 other Dinka fellows and they were immediately killed at Nyamlell this including one Darfurian called Masaid. Marcelino Tong Lual was arrested in Achaana when he was in duty as a veterinary doctor. The Arab soldiers brought him to Nyamlell to be killed. It happened that the Muslims were celebrating their Holy Month called Ramadan and they did not want to kill him, so they kept him for sometime. Luckily he got a chance to escape from the Arabs in Nyamlell and went to Chelkou. He found some other Christians these who were in hiding. They gathered themselves and formed a military group and these became the first Anyanya 1 soldiers. The Arab soldiers were only arresting and killing those who were Christians and educated in order to destroy Christianity in Sudan.
“In the same year,” Peter Col said, “I was in class one and the Northern soldiers came to missionaries’ compound with three cars at about 3: 00 p.m. The bell was rung and we all came together and the fathers told us that they were going to leave us. We prayed in the church and prayed with them and for them. They said, “We are going to leave you and stay in peace.” The big pupils encouraged all of us to do something. And in reaction we started stoning the soldiers. When they had taken the fathers, all the pupils started going home, and that was the closure of the school. The school was from class 1 – 6.”
“The languages taught were English and Dinka. There was arresting of Christians as well as serious and looting of the missionaries’ properties. The no baptised- Dinka from Nyamlell started looting things and betraying their brothers – the Dinka Christians – to the Arabs. All of us from Nyamlellthii ran away to Matuic to hide because we were Christians and my father Marcelino Col was a soldier.”
“Every one who was related to a Christian or if you are related to a soldier, you were to be betrayed to the Arab soldiers, arrested and killed. There was no teaching again from the expulsion of the missionaries. By then the Arabs began teaching the pupils Arabic and Islam. They gave many children Islamic names and other Christians who were afraid and had already joined the Arabs earlier, like Sabastiano Akot Ring. He was a Christian and he later joined Islam, he was my father’s colleague. Even during the formation of Anyanya 1, still there was no Catholic school only Arab schools in Nyamlell which were run by the Khartoum Government, I joined the school again when I was a very big boy.”
“In 1983 as pupils, we started military activities and there was to come what was Anyanya Two. At Nyamlelldit, there were Arab barracks and they did fire guns to Nyamlell trying to kill the people there and to destroy the cross on the top of the church. Till, one day, they bombed the roof of the church. No missionary came to Nyamlell from 1964. People gathered in the church and conducted prayers till when Fr. Joseph Pellerino came in 1994. No one could be baptised unless you could go to Aweil or Khartoum to be baptised.”
Peter Col Marcelino concluded, “We thank God for having saved us till today because they did not kill so many Christians apart from the 13 Christians they killed first. We also thank God because we experienced bombings and looting of the properties.
This is statement was given by Peter Col Marcelino and was written by Daniel Adhal Garang.

A memory, April 2, 2009

In 1967, Bishop Ireneo Wien Dut arrived in Nyamlell to discuss about Christianity with the Executive Chief Autiak Akot at the time. Two days before that, non-Muslim Dinka were officially told to convert into Islam and turn away from Christianity, according to Karlo Kuc Wol. The Bishop came and encouraged Christians to keep praying and refuse to convert into Islam. After the meeting, Karlo Kuc Wol with other people was baptized.

This was written
By Jacob Lual Jok, Head catechist of Chelkou Centre in Aweil West County and corrected by Daniel Adhal Garang.


The catechists below worked in Saint Theresa Parish under the supervision of Gino Aguer, from 1992-95:

Name of catechist
Gino Aguer
Angelo Nyual
Anthony Deng Aleu
Francis Atem Yel
Angelo Kiir Wol
William Apin
Abraham Manyang
Abraham Lueth
Ireneo Dut Dut
James Mayuol
James Wieu
Angelo Garang

It was by then Bishop Caesar sent Fr. Joseph Pellerino, MCCJ to Nyamlell on October 10 1994.

He came to visit the Christians in St. Theresa Parish together with some other Catechists who were working in the Diocese. Fr. Pellerino trained all the catechists in the Parish and in April 1995, Mgr. Caesar Mazzolari came to visit the catechists. In May 1995, Arabs boomed Nyamlell and Fr. Joseph Pellerino ran to Rumbek with a certain Brother. Other priests were then sent by the Bishop to give baptism and then returned. In 2002, Fr. Michael D. Barton came to Nyamlell and visited some other chapels nearby. He then left after Easter 2002 and came back on October 7, 2002.

Written by Anthony Deng Aleu and corrected by Daniel Adhal Garang.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Gravesite of Comboni Fr. Ray Pax

Father Michael sent photos of the grave of Father Ray Pax, a Comboni missionary priest who was serving with Father Michael in St. Theresa Parish. To learn more about Father Pax, read the blog entry for April 12, 2008, which is excerpted here:

Concerning the death of Father Raymond Pax, MCCJ. On March 31, 2008 in Saint Teresa Parish Rectory in Nyamlell, Aweil West County, Northern Bar el Gazal State in the South Sudan.

My name is Father Michael Barton, MCCJ and I am the parish priest of St. Teresa’s Parish and we have worked together for two years here.

I knew Ray since he was ordained a priest in 1965. As a seminarian I worked with Father Pax at St. Henry’s in Cincinnati, Ohio.

I want to begin on Easter 2008 when I came back after three months of safari pastoral visits to the chapels. Father Pax had been the whole of the Holy Week in the parish center and I was out.

On Easter Monday I began a teachers’ workshop and Ray went out with two boys to collect firewood for the course, and in the afternoon he prepared the Easter dinner with our cook Anthony and the Sisters came over for dinner together. Everyone got sick that night but me. The Sisters had to call the Slovak doctor to assist them.
By Tuesday Father Pax was also down with malaria but started to recover right away. On Wednesday we had a visit from Father Ireneo from Daeen in Darfur and he stayed the night.

On Thursday Father Pax took the car for a pastoral visit to Lueth Lual and Ariath Center to last four days.

He came back on March 30th (2008) and was quite happy and spoke of consolations during this past trip.

On Monday we had Mass together and breakfast and then had a planning meeting with the sisters to plan for the school year which was to begin on the next day.
I went to pay the part-time catechists and gave them some corn. The day before I had concluded and paid the teachers. Father Pax brought the chairs out.

At the end a catechist who had stopped his work demanded money of last year which had been stolen from my room because he had not come in December as he was told. He would not listen to any explanation of any type.

I told Ray that I had to go to the state capital Aweil to see this matter and would go with the Apostles and come back with public means. He understood and said to go.
When I went back to our compound the catechist had taken the chairs and Father Pax had followed him on foot.

I left to Aweil and there the authority had changed his tune completely and all was very successful and clarifying. Father Wilfred took me to the bus park to get transport back to Nyamlell. I did not find any but Father Wilfred and Father Bernard came back and gave me their phone with a call from Father Colombo, MCCJ for me to go back to Nyamlell as the Sisters were frantic. The Apostles took me that Father Ray had collapsed and died. None of us could believe it. On arrival I found many people around the mission and the Sisters had dressed Ray in clerical shirt etc. and removed everything from his room to his office and his body was laying on his bed and Sr. Jeanne from Indonesia and Sr Jeviana from East Timor crying and praying.

Soon Bishop Caesar Mazzolari, MCCJ called me and said that he had talked to the family and to the Comboni provincial and that Ray was to be buried in Nyamlell. We agreed with the youth to dig the grave in the rectory compound as there is no cemetery in Nyamlell and Ray is the first priest or religious to die here even though this mission was started in 1933. I pulled the car over and turned on the lights so the youth could see to work. At 10:30 I celebrated the first Mass for Father in his room. We were three priest and three Sisters as the Gordhim Sacred Heart Sister who a former Superior General and many lay people. The sisters kept vigil the whole night. I had to get some sleep. We had already dressed him in priestly clothes.

The medical staff did what they could for him. We asked the Dutch NGO here if they make a coffin.

They woke me during the night to say the grave was ready and I moved and shut off the car.

On waking I went for my vigil; and prayer and then went to prepare the church and the readers and servers. At around 11 the coffin arrived from CORAID.

We put in the body and went in procession to the parish church. I was the main celebrant and gave the homily with Father Bernard adding more. About his life I said that Father Raymond Lawrence Pax was born In Celina Ohio on June 23rd, 1938 and was baptized at Immaculate Conception and had his primary education at Immaculate Conception School run by the Precious Blood Sisters and Fathers. He was number three of nine and three became priests. He had many uncles and aunts who had become priests and Sisters. Oscar was his father who was big into tools etc.

He went to Sacred Heart Seminary in Cincinnati run by the Verona Fathers for High School from1952 to 1956. He did his noviciate in Monroe, Michigan under Father Chiodi.He studied philosophy and finished college in 1961. He studied theology in San Diego, California. He was ordained a priest by Archbishop Karl Alter as the Combonis celebrated 25 years in the USA in May 1965 in Cincinnati at Sacred Heart Seminary.
He became an assistant pastor at Saint Henry and in California and back as pastor at
Saint Henry in Cincinnati’s old west end.
Around 1970 he came to Africa to Uganda where he worked in several MISSIONS in Gulu diocese among the Acholi.

Aronnd 1975 he was transferred to Kenya and worked mainly in Kasikeu and before that in Gigil. He also worked in the USA in California in pastoral work and then he came to Sudan. He worked in Juba and then in Tambora diocese and a few months after being expelled from Juba in Khartoum and finally in Rumbek diocese where he worked various years in Marial Lou, then in Mapuordit and at last here in Nyamlell.

There were five speeches after the Mass and the Commissioner declared Father Pax to be a Dinka and three days latter had a bull killed in his honor and people gathered for that too. After Mass we went in precession carrying the coffin to the grave where we had the final prayers. The coffin was too big so more digging and adjusting took place. Everyone stayed until the burial was complete and the Sisters had made paper flowers which we spread all over the grave.

Father Pax’s work has just begun to help the Dinka people and this mission and all its people and work.