Be “the sacrament of hope”: Apostolic Nuncio to South Sudan Urges Newly Ordained Priests

Archbishop Hubertus van Megen, Bishop Eduardo Hiiboro Kussala, the three newly ordained Priests, and other Priests after the April 30 Holy Mass. Credit: CDTY

The Priesthood ministry is lived among the people of God, the ordained minister interceding for God’s people as “the sacrament of hope”, the representative of the Holy Father in South Sudan has told newly ordained Priests in the country’s Catholic Diocese of Tombura-Yambio (CDTY).

In his homily during the Sunday, April 30 Priestly Ordination celebration, Archbishop Hubertus van Megen underscored the need for Priests to “identify with the people” who are under their pastoral care.

“You need to intercede for your people by being among them through prayers or petitions. That's why the Bible says God is between us,” Archbishop van Megen said during the ordination celebration that was held at St. Mary Mother of God Parish of CDTY.

He explained, “The word intercede in the scripture means we have to stand in the middle of the situation, be with the people, and to live with the people as well as identify with the people.”

Interceding for the people of God, the Apostolic Nuncio said, “is the quality of someone who dedicated his life to serving the people of God.”


“Being with the people means you need to work on behalf of the other that you are working to serve,” the Nairobi-based Vatican diplomat further said, and emphasized, The Priest needs to be between his people, interact with them to make them feel part of the Church.”

He went on to caution against the tendency to restrict oneself to church premises, saying, Being on the altar is more of an impression but that’s not being with the people.”

The Priest, he said, “should be the sacrament of hope in his entire life when he goes to preach”.

“The Priest is not only in the Church though you have received the sacrament,” Archbishop van Megen said during the ordination to the Priesthood of Deacons Santino Wise Makuei, Paingbafuyo Luke Doboyo, and Bagaipai John.

He urged the three new Priests to pray that God turns them “into his body and blood to preach the word of God wherever they go.”

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Referencing the Gospel Reading of the fourth Sunday of Easter, the representative of the Father in South Sudan who doubles as the Apostolic Nuncio in Kenya told the new Priest, “You should not be like a hired man when he sees the wolves he runs away and leaves the sheep but rather a good shepherd, who lays down his life for the sheep.”

A good Priest works towards “hope for the people to recognize the presence of God,” the 61-year-old Catholic Archbishop said. 

“Priests are called among their own people in order to serve them; therefore they should serve wholeheartedly. As Christ laid his life for us, they, in turn, should lay their life for the people of God”, he said.

Archbishop van Megen implored, “We pray today that God gives strength to these Priests as they grow up to enter their hearts deeper into the services of the Church.”

Patrick Juma Wani is a South Sudanese journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. Patrick holds a Diploma in Journalism and Mass Communication from Makerere Institute for Social Development (MISD) in Uganda. He has over 7 years of extensive experience in leading the development and implementation of media, advocacy, communication and multimedia strategy and operations, with an excellent track record of editorial leadership, budget management, and stakeholder outreach. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.