A BRISBANE priest has continued his prayer campaign for the Republic of South Sudan’s peaceful transition to independence.
Fr Gerry Hefferan, who was in East Timor as a representative of Brisbane archdiocese’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission during the 1999 referendum for independence from Indonesia and the violent aftermath, said prayer and support were essential at this critical stage.
“There have been some violent incidents in the Sudanese border areas over the past five months,” he said. “The Sudanese bishops have recently outlined a program and prayers in the lead-up to southern Sudan becoming the world’s newest nation on July 9.
“They pray for peace, courage and hope.
“Please join them in your prayers.”
Fr Hefferan said he had sent out an invitation to parishes throughout Brisbane archdiocese to pray for the Sudanese people in the prayers of the faithful.
He has also sent out a set prayer for the Republic of South Sudan to be printed in parish newsletters and placed on parish websites.
The Sudanese bishops launched the prayer campaign on May 28 with Eucharistic processions at various locations. Song, poetry and drawing competitions were organised to involve Catholic school children.
Pentecost Vigils were also to be held and followed by the blessing and planting of “Trees of Life” at several locations for Pentecost Sunday.
Various trees to be planted throughout South Sudan were to produce medicine as a sign of healing from trauma and war, and fruit symbolising signs of hope and promise. A novena will be held on June 29, the Feast of Sts Peter and Paul, recognising Jesus, the cornerstone for the new nation.
On July 9, independence day, a Eucharistic celebration for the new Republic of South Sudan will be held.
Southern Sudan has continued to move towards independence since a referendum from January 9 to 15 voted on whether the region should remain a part of Sudan or become independent.
On February 7, the referendum commission published the final results, with 98.83 per cent voting in favour of independence.
A prayer campaign in the lead-up to the referendum, co-ordinated in Rome, started on September 21 last year (United Nations International Day of Peace) and ran until the World Day of Prayer on January 1 this year.
See CENTREPOINT, Page 9, for story on Brisbane Catholic woman’s support of Sudanese refugees in Egypt
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