South Sudanese Diocese Looking to Have More Community Encounter in 2025 Peace Pilgrimage

Bishop Christian Carlassare with pilgrims who participated in the pilgrimage for peace. Credit: Fr. Luka Dor/Catholic Diocese of Rumbek

The Catholic Diocese of Rumbek in South Sudan has announced its 2025 peace pilgrimage, with the hope that young people set to participate in the pilgrimage will have more interaction with the communities they encounter along the way.

In a note shared with ACI Africa on Monday, January 15, the Local Ordinary of Rumbek Diocese, Bishop Christian Carlassare, said that in the 2025 peace pilgrimage, pilgrims will cover all Parishes of the Diocese.

“We will try to spend more time with the communities along the way, not rushing in our walking. We realized that we spent a little time of rest and prayer with the communities who wished to spend more time with us,” Bishop Carlassare said, recounting his experience of the seven-day pilgrimage from Rumbek to Tonj, some 125 kilometers away.

Credit: Fr. Luka Dor/Catholic Diocese of Rumbek

He observed that in this year’s seven-day peace pilgrimage that ended on Sunday, January 14 with the opening of the Diocese’s Eucharistic Congress, communities that were visited expressed a deep desire to spend more time with the young pilgrims.


Young people from the Diocese of Rumbek who participated in the pilgrimage that was organized under the theme, “Be Seeds of Hope” also developed deep closeness with those they encountered along the way, Bishop Carlassare said.

He added, “Our pilgrimage was about encountering. I felt that we encountered each other, building deeper friendships. This is our ministry involving bonding together.”

Credit: Fr. Luka Dor/Catholic Diocese of Rumbek

“We met so many people in our communities along the way. They made us grow in our responsibility towards these communities,” he said, adding that the Diocese of Rumbek announced the 2025 pilgrimage “because when we walk, we don’t want to stop.”

“Every year, we will have a pilgrimage,” the Italian-born member of the Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus (MCCJ) said, and added, “Our idea is to continue the journey from Tonj, meeting all Parishes that are in the western deanery. Then, we will have completed all the Diocese.”

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“We will try to increase the element of prayer along the way,” he said of the Diocese’s plans to improve the youth’s pilgrimage experience, and continued, “We are growing, and we think that this is a starting point of renewal of our youth ministry that will invite more youths to come in with a strong spirituality of encounter with Jesus.”

Credit: Fr. Luka Dor/Catholic Diocese of Rumbek

In an interview with ACI Africa on January 9, Bishop Carlassare noted that young people in South Sudan have big dreams for the future but often are not able to achieve them “because the society is not so friendly with them.”

In his January 15 note, a day after concluding the peace pilgrimage with Holy Mass at Sacred Heart of Jesus Tonj Parish, the Bishop invited South Sudanese youths to draw inspiration from the Prophet Samuel who he said, found meaning in his life after he received a call from God “in the silence of the night, in the dark, when he was alone.”

“When God calls Samuel, the young boy realizes that he is not alone in life, that he doesn’t have to be lost forever in the confusion of life,” the Catholic Church leader, who started his Priestly ministry in South Sudan in the Catholic Diocese of Malakal in 2005 said.


Credit: Fr. Luka Dor/Catholic Diocese of Rumbek

He added, “A similar confusion may be present in the youths in South Sudan. But God is there, accompanying us. On the pilgrimage, we had this experience. We are not wandering around the Diocese. We are walking, listening to the word of God.”

During the just concluded peace pilgrimage, Bishop Carlassare emphasized, “the Lord was there with us. He was there in the people we encountered. He was speaking to us, whether we listened or not. God spoke to us when we were able to maintain silence.”

Agnes Aineah is a Kenyan journalist with a background in digital and newspaper reporting. She holds a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism from the Aga Khan University, Graduate School of Media and Communications and a Bachelor's Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communications from Kenya's Moi University. Agnes currently serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.