A gift and sign of hope: Peace centre opens in a troubled South Sudan

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 [Juba, South Sudan, TCT] A crowd of more than 800 people, including ambassadors and local dignitaries, gathered to witness the opening and inaugration of a new peace centre in Juba over the weekend.
According to a statement from Religious Superiors’ Association of South Sudan (RSASS), the centre is a gift of hope for the people of South Sudan, especially for all who will receive formation from the centre, which is open to people of all faiths.

“It is also a great sign from the religious and the local Church that the Catholic Church is committed for peace, justice and reconciliation in the country through their personnel and structures,” said the statement.

The Catholic Church also runs the model peace village called ‘Holy Trinity Peace Village’, also known as Kuron, which was started by Bishop Emeritus Paride Taban, the retired Catholic bishop of Torit diocese, and which works for community-based peace building.

The new facility located at Kit near Juba, will act as a centre for human, pastoral and spiritual formation, peace building and trauma healing. It was initially launched by Archbishop Paulino Lukudu Loro in 2014.

The centre, named the ‘Good Shepherd Peace Centre’ was officially opened by the Apostolic Nuncio to South Sudan, Archbishop Charles Balvo, assisted by the Archbishop of Juba and a large number of diocesan and religious priests.
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The facility has 40, en-suite bedrooms each capable of accommodating two beds plus a youth hostel that can accommodate 60 people. It has spacious conference and dining rooms, a central chapel and many seminar rooms and outdoor tukuls, next to Kit River.

“It is expected that this quality, purpose-built facility will be a very positive force in the search for peace in South Sudan,” says the statement.

The simple but profound message above the chapel entrance says: ‘Be at Peace’. The project was built with funds donated by Italian and German Catholic charities on land leased from St Martin de Porres Brothers. It was also supported financially by several Catholic religious congregations present in South Sudan.

The President of the RSASS, Fr Daniele Moschetti, Provincial of the Comboni Missionaries, thanked all who contributed to build the centre. He paid tribute to Christian and Muslim workers, Ugandan and South Sudanese, who worked hard to complete the Centre despite the challenges of conflict which made it difficult to bring in building materials.

“...the Centre exists at all shows that a lot can be achieved against the odds. It is a gift of hope for the people of South Sudan, especially for all who will receive formation from this centre,” said the statement from the association.

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