“Be not afraid” amid Challenges in South Sudan: Catholic Bishop in Christmas Message

Bishop Alex Lodiong Sakor Eyobo of South Sudan's Yei Diocese. Credit: Courtesy Photo

In his Christmas 2022 Message to the people of God under his pastoral care, the Catholic Bishop of South Sudan's Yei Diocese has sought to offer encouragement amid economic and security challenges.

“This is the twelfth year the people of South Sudan, as a country, celebrate the Solemnity of the Birth of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world,” Bishop Alex Lodiong Sakor Eyobo says in his message dated December 23. 

Bishop Lodiong says he finds it regrettable that “in these twelve years, the majority of the citizens of this nation have celebrated Christmas in dire economic and security situation imposed on them by their own brothers and sisters who seek political positions for selfish interests and gain.”

“As we celebrate this Christmas, my mind goes to our brothers and sisters in Upper Nile and Jonglei States who, because of the warring parties in those States, are celebrating this Christmas in the cold; in swamps of flood waters and in the bushes,” the South Sudanese says.

He adds, “My mind goes to our brothers and sisters in some parts of Eastern Equatoria and Central Equatoria, who have been displaced from their ancestral homes by cattle herders and bandits, and deprive of dignified Christmas celebrations.”


“My mind goes to our brothers and sisters in Greater Yei who have been intimidated and displaced from their original homes in Panyume Payam, Mokaya Payam, Otogo Payam, Lasu Payam and other payams, and forced to celebrate Christmas in Tents and under trees by lovers of guns and violence,” the South Sudanese Catholic Bishop further says in his message.

The 51-year-old Catholic Bishop who started his Episcopal Ministry on May 15 further says, “My mind goes to our brothers and sisters who are harshly detained in detention centers without fair trial in the courts of law, and deprived of their religious right to praise their God on Christmas day.”

The Catholic Church leader further says his “mind goes to everyone in this country who has been disadvantaged in any way and cannot celebrate this Christmas with joy and freedom of the children of God.”

“To you all, I say: Be not afraid! The good news of great joy, announced by the angel of the Lord to the shepherds of Bethlehem, is for you too, because those who believe in the power of arms and violence are not your liberators,” the Local Ordinary of the Yei Diocese says.

Making reference to the Gospel of St. Luke, he says those suffering are the “Caesar Augustuses and the Quiriniuses of today, whose names will go down in the books of history and leave the glory of the Lord to shine upon those with whom God is pleased.”

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“The Lord Jesus is your Liberator and Savior. He will guide and protect you in your mangers of life for himself,” Bishop Lodiong says in his December 23 Christmas message.

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.