By Fr. Elario Zambakari.
The Catholic Diocese of Tombura-Yambio, South Sudan, held its first ever Synod preliminary convention in the Diocesan Palica, Nzara, Gbudue state.
The historic convention under the theme “WE ARE A FAMILY OF GOD’SPEOPLE! A PARTICIPATORY SERVANT OF THE CHURCH” brought together the priests, religious and the laity from all the deaneries of the diocese. While opening the convention, His Lordship Eduardo Hiiboro Kussala, the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Tombura-Yambio thanked the assembled participants for their sacrifice and commitment towards realizing the dream of the diocese of its first synod. H
His Lordship added that the synod discussions is a defining moment for the Catholic Diocese of Tombura-Yambio terming it a step towards the right direction and a self-sustaining Diocese. The synod is a realization of the Bishop’s dream which has been long overdue as he says that was his first idea after his installation but instability in the country leading to war and violence became a major hitch. With the revitalized peace agreement realizing relative peace in the country, His Lordship says its time to surge forward.
The Diocesan Pastoral Coordinator who doubled up as the moderator of the sittings, Fr Raphael Diko on his part appreciated the members assembled while calling them to work together in order to define the historical moment of the diocese in an effective and successful manner.
The preliminary conference aims to define and realize new life in Christ by addressing ten important topics of pastoral concerns namely; The Christian life, Liturgy, Evangelization, Social concerns, Social communication, parish, Catholic Schools, Laity, the Clergy and the Religious and finally Cultural diversity and middle ground for all.
The synod delegates engaged in a myriad of discussions, which aims to strengthen the Diocese in all spheres, achieving a whole, Holy Christian life. The delegates grouped themselves for important discussions with each group tackling questions that would help them come up with suggestions to improve the situation.
The synod also aims to identify the strengths and the weaknesses and come up with the way forward as the Diocese surges ahead.
On the last day of the synod discussions, the Diocese had a historic moment as it launched its five-year Strategic plan led by His Lordship, Barani Eduardo Hiiboro, the Bishop of the Catholic of Tombura-Yambio. The launch was graced by notable dignitaries and representatives from various world organizations such as World Vision, UNHCR, CORDAID, FAO, Equatorial Teak among others. Government representatives also graced the occasion led by the Acting Speaker Gbudue state, Madam Christine Mokorondere who reiterated the government’s collaboration and support for the church activities in Gbudue state.
“It has been a journey of seven months that we culminate today with the launch of this strategic plan, a journey that will definitely surge the Diocese forward,” Said Bishop Eduardo.
His Lordship blessed the Strategic plan materials and urged the members to join hands and make it a success. He stressed the need for human beings to be respected all round as we help God in the work of creation.
The 2019-2023 Strategic Plan has four pillars that will guide the diocese in the five-year plan. Pillar one entails Evangelization, Christian Formation and Pastoral Care, pillar two involves social economic development, pillar three involves improving financial systems, controls and reporting framework and the forth dealing with monitoring and evaluation, learning and capacity development.
‘Our strategic plan looks into the need of everyone. Inorder to implement the revitalized peace agreement, we have to look into all the needs of the people which luckily have been incorporated in the strategic plan, the Bishop said.
He insisted on the consistency and finding ways of implementing for its effectiveness and success. He called upon the congregants to “Get up and Walk” echoing the words in the Gospel when Jesus healed the Crippled man.
While presenting the goals and objectives of the strategic plan, Mr Joshua Okeyo, who has worked hard among other key stakeholders to make the strategic plan inception and launch a success, expressed hope that within the five years, the Diocese will have propelled to greater heights.
The strategic plan aims at having a coordinated approach in the Diocese, give a purpose and sense of direction to the ultimate goal and also be a yard stick against which self-evaluation can be done. With the strategic plan in place , engagement towards stakeholders and the diocese will be enhanced.
All the key speakers echoed the famous words, ‘failing to plan is planning to fail’, as they appreciated the Bishop for the great milestone the diocese has achieved and the great partnership between the Diocese and humanitarian organizations. They promised to walk and collaborate with the Diocese every step of the way.
……………………………………GET UP AND WALK (John 5: 8)……………………………….......