Let’s Strive for “well-formed will, after the example of Christ”: Catholic Bishop in South Sudan in 2024 Easter Message

Bishop Christian Carlassare of Rumbek Diocese, South Sudan, during 2024 Chrism Mass at Holy Family Cathedral of Rumbek Diocese on 27 March 2024. Credit: Fr. Luka Dor/Rumbek Diocese

Bishop Christian Carlassare of the Catholic Diocese of Rumbek in South Sudan has emphasized the need to look to Jesus Christ for inspiration in determining the directions of our respective lives through our wills.

In his 2024 Easter Message, Bishop Carlassare uses adages about the will to caution against taking the direction of a will that is deformed.

“A famous physician of last century used to say, there is a driving force stronger than steam, stronger than electricity, stronger than atomic energy. It's called will,” he says, referring to Albert Einstein, a German-born theoretical physicist often cited as one of the greatest and most influential scientists of all time.

Bishop Christian Carlassare of Rumbek Diocese, South Sudan, during 2024 Chrism Mass at Holy Family Cathedral of Rumbek Diocese on 27 March 2024. Credit: Fr. Luka Dor/Rumbek Diocese

To underscore the power of the will in our respective lives, Bishop Carlassare also cites, “where there is a will, there is a way”, a popular saying attributed to George Herbert, a Welsh-born poet and orator in his 1640 publication, Jacula Prudentusm.


According to the Catholic Bishop of Rumbek, “Our wills can lead us astray.”

He emphasizes the need to invest in the formation of the will, drawing inspiration from the person of Jesus Christ.

“A well-formed will – after the example of Christ – can take us far ahead. And friendship cheers us up along the journey,” the Italian-born member of the Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus (MCCJ) says in his 2024 Easter Message.

Bishop Christian Carlassare of Rumbek Diocese, South Sudan, during 2024 Chrism Mass at Holy Family Cathedral of Rumbek Diocese on 27 March 2024. Credit: Fr. Luka Dor/Rumbek Diocese

The Catholic Bishop highlights the seven-day 125km peace pilgrimage that he successfully undertook with youths from Rumbek to Tonj starting from January 7 as an example of good and “strong will”.

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“Last January, 84 youth inspired us with their strong will to walk a peace pilgrimage from Rumbek to Tonj, encountering several communities,” he recalls the peace pilgrimage that provided a fertile ground for growth of vocations to Religious Life besides sensitizing local community members in South Sudan on the need for peace.

The strong will, the Local Ordinary of Rumbek since his Episcopal Consecration in March 2022 says, “is also the experience of the whole Diocese in the work of evangelization and in whatever we do in the name of the Risen Lord.”

“There is a long way to go, but we are never alone. And always under His light,” he says in his 2024 Easter Message in which he emphasizes the need for Christians to look to Jesus for freedom from fears in order to foster fraternity.

Credit: Fr. Luka Dor/Rumbek Diocese

Jesus Christ, Bishop Carlassare says, “knows how to transform the way of the cross into a strenuous path in which we come to encounter one another, we journey together and take on the challenge as a community. We don’t impose the cross on others, but we carry it together. Jesus carried the cross before us, and carries it today with us. He overcame darkness and death. He is the light of the world.


The risen Lord frees the fears of his disciples, the Catholic Bishop whose Episcopal Consecration was delayed after he was shot in both legs on 26 April 2021  further says, and continues, “When we are freed from our fears, our presence automatically frees others.”

“This is the journey we took during Lent to experience an Easter of liberation and life. Jesus is there to accompany us,” he says.

Highlighting the symbol of life as important in celebrating the resurrection of our Lord, Bishop Carlassare poses, “Why should we ever fear light? Why should we fear becoming an expression of that light?”

Bishop Christian Carlassare of Rumbek Diocese, South Sudan, during 2024 Chrism Mass at Holy Family Cathedral of Rumbek Diocese on 27 March 2024. Credit: Fr. Luka Dor/Rumbek Diocese

“We are all born to make manifest the beauty of God that is within each of us. And when we allow the light of God to shine within us, we unconsciously give others the chance to do the same,” he explains.

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Our hope, the Catholic Bishop, who celebrated his second Episcopal Anniversary on March 25 with a reflection on “The Pact of Catacombs” says in his 2024 Easter Message, is “a faith that transforms and allows life to flow where there seemed only death.”

On March 27, during the anticipated Chrism Mass that is traditionally celebrated on Holy Thursday, Bishop Carlassare cautioned Priests against disunity, imploring, "Let us pray that the spirit may bring harmony between the Priests and the Christian community; let us pray that there may be harmony among the priests."

“A group of Priests without harmony is without the Spirit, and without the Spirit it will not work; appreciate what is good in others; don’t play down anyone; don’t criticize for the sake, to feel better,” he said, and emphasizing the fostering of fraternity among Priests added, “The failure of the other is my failure; the success of the other is my success.”

Credit: Fr. Luka Dor/Rumbek Diocese

The Catholic Church leader, who started his Priestly ministry in South Sudan’s Malakal Diocese in 2005 urged Priests to realize the uniqueness of their calling to serve God.

"As priests, yes, we have to be owned completely by the same very people that we serve. We don’t do things as people do, conforming ourselves to others; as a Priest you are called to bring a new vision, a new way of living for God and for the community,” he said.

The MCCJ member added, “As Priests, when we conform ourselves to the common mentality of people, it is because we are not understanding Jesus Christ; we don’t understand the choices he made in his own life; we don’t understand his cross, why he did not reject it.”

Addressing himself to women and men Religious and the Laity, the Local Ordinary of Rumbek Diocese, who, at his first Episcopal Anniversary in March 2023, consecrated his Episcopal See to the Immaculate Heart of Mary called for positive support to the members of the Clergy.

Credit: Fr. Luka Dor/Rumbek Diocese

“Let us pray that really the Spirit of God may come abundantly to strengthen all our Priests. Let our Christian community pray, not today, but every day for our priests,” appealed Bishop Carlassare during the March 27 Eucharistic Celebration.

He continued, “Is there anyone in our community rather than helping the Priests is tempting the Priests? Let us help them not to be tempted by the mentality of our world. We can tempt them with power; we can tempt them with improper friendship; we can tempt them with resources and money."

“Thank you for what you do without being seen or recognized. Thank you that you remain faithful even though we are living in the middle of many contradictions,” Bishop Carlassare told Priests ministering in Rumbek Diocese, and implored, “May the Spirit of God fill you with peace, and bring to conclusion the work He has begun in you.” 

Nicholas Waigwa contributed to the writing of this story

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