Thursday, September 9, 2010

Bishop Caesar pays a farewell visit

Saint Teresa Parish
Comboni Missionaries
P.O. Box 21102 Nairobi, Kenya. 00505

September 2, 2010

Dear Friends,

I received a lot of Christmas mail all at the same time on August 6th. It seems they arrive in Nairobi and then are taken to Rumbek in the South Sudan by lorry and then delay a lot there until someone comes this way to the Northern Bahr el Ghazal state and so came Bishop Caesar Mazzolari, MCCJ, on that day.

The Bishop came from Rumbek as part of a farewell pastoral tour that was organized to thank him for 17 years of pastoral service that he has given to the Dinka Malual. He arrived in Aweil by plane and we went the same day to Udhom where a large number of faithful Christians gathered – maybe 3,000 - from 12 chapels and we had Mass and they had made a special song celebrating Caesar’s 17 years as our Catholic shepherd.

We were given a spectacular lunch and then we an extra 100 kilometers to have the car situated on the North bank of the River Lol from the next few days right across from our mission station of Saint Teresa. The OLSH Sisters met us as we crossed and accompanied the Bishop and me to the rectory. Of course that night I was up late opening Christmas cards.

On August 7th we divided ourselves, the bishop went with the sisters to Marol Tiit where a multitude of returnees from Darfur have their chapel and the Bishop had given a lot of assistance. I went to another chapel called Mathiang Jongkor where I had confessions and Mass and did a few baptisms. I walked there as the car would never have made it due to the mud, and even walking, I got stuck and also fell. Can you imagine what the car would have got stuck for sure.

We met up again in Gok Macar where we found the choirs practicing for the Sunday’s blessing of the new church.

We went back to Nyamlell. One of the new Indonesian sisters was frightened by the river crossing in the canoe but by the fourth time seemed to take courage. In Nyamlell we had a few meetings.

On Sunday the 8th of August we crossed the river and found many youth and villagers going to Gok Macar for the blessing of the new church, which was started on December 1st and finished on June 30th and blessed August 8th and named Saint William and Saint Julia.

We got there and the bishop and I each had an hour of confessions and then the long procession and Mass with the blessing and one confirmation and one marriage, and the choirs and the alleluia dancers were all prepared and did wonderfully. After Mass there were many speeches and I had anointing of the sick and fifty baptisms and we left just as the food was ready but the bishop was tired. I drove the bishop to the boat and then the car the long way around to the new bridge to get on the other side of the river and back to the mission.

On August 9th Nyamlell had its chance to thank Caesar with an assembly and each class presenting a welcoming poster and at the same time remembering some of the many things that Caesar did for us during those years of his service and with everyone vested we had a very solemn Eucharistic celebration in the church for everyone who wanted to come. This was followed by prepared and not prepared entertainment. A bull had been slaughtered on Sunday evening to welcome our VTP and so after the entertainment we had lunch – everyone meat eaters.

On August 10th we had school but Bishop Caesar went to Marial Baai with the two new OLSH sisters for more thanksgiving; that day it rained but the celebration went on. I did not go as I had a full day of classes. That evening we had dinner with the Sisters and teachers for the ‘’Last Supper’’ together.

Early on August 11th Caesar returned to Rumbek by plane out of Aweil.
Now we are under the diocese of Wau and will wait to see the advantages and disadvantages of either arrangement.

In July we had a robbery of the Kenyan teacher’s room and the thief stole quite a lot of money. They caught the thief and got some of the money back.

In the latter part of August, I had the six remaining doors put on the rectory – three last and six this year at a cost of $2,500 and they are strong but not totally thief resistant.

In July 21 the provincial form Indonesia came and brought two young sisters with her to work with us but first they have to learn English. So now we have four and one will be transferred to Cameroon in West Africa in the new year of 2011 and three will stay here.

On August 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th we had semester exams, four days for the High School and two days for the primaries. We have done three weeks of the 2nd semester and from the 28th of August to September 11th we have a semester break.

I drove to Wau after Sunday Mass on the 29th of August and will stay here for a few days and then back again. I’ll get the car checked and buy some can goods and rest and eat and pray.

All the best to you. Thank you for helping and praying and thinking of me.

Father Michael D. Barton, MCCJ.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The bishop of Rumbek meets the bishop of Wau

The Bishop of Rumbek, his Lordship Caesar Mazzolari, on Aug. 12 in Wau met with the Bishop of Wau Diocese, His Lordship Rudolf Deng Majak.

Bishop Mazzolari was on his way back to Rumbek after spending five days in Nyamlell mission, bidding farewell to the missionaries and Christians who from now will be administered by the Catholic diocese of Wau.

Bishop Mazzolari told Good News Radio that he expressed to the Bishop of Wau the longing of the people of Nyamlell and Gordhim to be visited by their new shepherd, adding that the people would like to establish a “family-like friendship” with him besides expressing their concerns and needs as a Christian community.

Bishop Mazzolari described his five-day experience in Nyamlell as “overwhelming”, expressing gratitude to God for the many accomplishments through various people.

Bishop Mazzolari shared about his Sunday experience with the pastor of Nyamlell, Fr. Michael Barton, at the blessing of Gogmachar Catholic Church, where 3000 to 4000 people gathered to witness the blessing of the Church and conferring of the sacraments of confession, baptism, confirmation, and matrimony.

The Bishop said that the baptisms at Gogmachar were so many that they ran out of baptismal water, adding that they had to suspend some of the baptisms.

The Bishop also said that the people of Nyamlell expressed their gratitude for all that the Catholic Diocese of Rumbek has accomplished in their midst for the last 17 years.

Bishop Mazzolari, on his part, expressed gratitude to the missionaries in Nyamlell in the persons of Fr. Michael Barton and Our Lady of Sacred Heart sisters, explaining that “they have created a most Christian Community of people who pray and sing with all joy and enthusiasm”, among them war victims and the displaced from Darfur.

With this visit of Bishop Mazzolari to Nyamlel, the missions of Nyamlell and Gordhim in Northern Bahr El Ghazal State are officially handed back to the Catholic Diocese of Wau.

Fr. Don Bosco Ochieng
Director, Radio Good News (Rumbek - Sudan)
P.O. Box 21102, 00505, Nairobi (Kenya)
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