Friday, January 3, 2014

Waiting for the next step in the journey

Jan. 3, 2014 A brief note from Father Michael Barton, who is now back in South Sudan: I passed though London and Nairobi and got here to Juba on December 24th and had Christmas Mass here in the South Sudan. On the Saturday after Christmas I was able to go and say Mass on the grave Of Aloyisius Lado, a catechist who was a leper yet worked with me and other priests in the Luri Ro Kwe Leper Colony outside of Juba. The next day I went back on the feast of the Holy Family to that same chapel. I had it all in Bari and even though it has been many years I remembered enough to say the masses and preach. Here in Juba I am waiting for a flight for Ayod in Jonglei State or to Leer in Unity State, so many days I walk to the White Nile and do I ever love that river. Next week early I should be able to get to one of those two sites and will begin to study Nuer. Happy Epiphany and then Orthodox Christmas! Michael Barton

Heading back to South Sudan

December 17th, 2013 Dear friends, Today I end my long home leave and head back to South Sudan to take up work again in a new mission in a new region with a new people and a new culture and language. When I went to the South Sudan for the first time, in 1978, there were three regions: Equatoria where I worked for nine years, and Bahr el Ghazal where I labored for twenty years in two different missions. The third region was then called Upper Nile, where I never set foot in. Now those three regions have been divided into ten states in a federal system like the one here in the United States. As of now the plan is that I will go into that territory where I had never been, that is, Upper Nile to Unity State to a small town called Leer where the Comboni Missionaries run a parish dedicated to Saint Joseph the Worker and a technical school. Leer is among the Nuer, which is the second largest Ethnic group in South Sudan. At Leer I am to study the language and culture of the Nuer. I am to stay there for three months in Leer trying to learn and in order to learn I shall have to study like mad. I understand that this course will be lead by a Presbyterian Minister. After the course I am to go to work in a Catholic mission called Ayot in Jonglei State and is also among the Nuer. Jonglei is the least peaceful and the largest state of the Republic of the South Sudan. There have been many tribal and clan conflicts all over the state that is the home of many diverse tribes and each tribe with many divergent clans, very often living together with many differences, which often lead to conflicts. On top of this there is a rebel movement in the state that wants to overthrown the federal government in Juba. All of this cries out all the more for the message of the Gospel. So the future like the past could have some bumps in it and the Word of God just told us to fear not because the Lord is with us. While at home I have been able to visit many wonderful place and see many historical and touristic sites and I am so grateful to God and to my sister and brother-in-law, who have housed me this time around and included me in so much of their travel. I also traveled a lot to make mission appeals to support the Comboni Missionaries here in the USA and in the far away mission lands. I am also so grateful to you who have been so generous to me and always welcoming and friendly. Thank you so very much! As the Nativity of the Lord is so near I want to wish you a very Merry Christmas celebration and a wonderful New Year in 2014. Peace and prosperity to one and all. Sincerely grateful to you I remain your friend and prayer buddy. Yours in the joy and courage of the new born Savior and Missionary, Father Michael D. Barton, MCCJ. Comboni Missionaries-South Sudan P.O. Box 21102. Nairobi, Kenya. 00505 (