“Emulate Simon of Cyrene, your fellow African”: Catholic Bishop in South Sudan to Youths in Holy Week Message

Bishop Edward Hiiboro Kussala of South Sudan’s Catholic Diocese of Tombura-Yambio (CDTY). Credit: CDTY

Bishop Edward Hiiboro Kussala of South Sudan’s Catholic Diocese of Tombura-Yambia (CDTY) has challenged African young people to emulate the determination of Simon of Cyrene, a young man, reportedly from Libya, who helped Jesus Christ carry his cross to Calvary as recorded in the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke).

In looking up to Simon of Cyrene, young Africans can also save their continent, which is riddled by a myriad of challenges, most of them economic, Bishop Hiiboro says in his message for the Holy Week.

According to the South Sudanese Catholic Bishop, Simon of Cyrene, who participated in God’s plan for salvation of humankind represents every African, especially young people on the continent.

“On his way to Golgotha, our Savior Jesus Christ met an African young person. Simon of Cyrene of Libya. Simon, representing all African young people, participated in carrying the cross of life; the cross upon which the Savior of the world was nailed and where he died,” Bishop Hiiboro says in his message shared with ACI Africa on Monday, March 26.

He continues, “This means that we Africans, especially you young people, participated in the salvation of humanity. We already participated in the vision, dream, and the leadership style of Jesus Christ from the very beginning.”


“Simon stands for all of you African young people. He carried the cross to the Calvary. Upon the cross, the author of life was nailed, died, and resurrected,” the Local Ordinary of CDTY since his Episcopal Consecration in June 2008 says.

“I am aware of the challenges and difficulties you face as African young people. I understand the economic challenges and unemployment on our continent. The hopelessness of our people, both in the Church and the governance of our countries,” he says.

Bishop Hiiboro encourages young people in Africa to draw inspiration from both Jesus Christ and Simon of Cyrene, saying, “Amid all these challenges, I want to encourage all of you to look up to Jesus Christ: a young person like yourselves who had the determination to save humanity… Learn from the determination of Simon of Cyreme who participated in the plan of salvation.”

The Local Ordinary of CDTY, who doubles as the President of the Integral Human Development Commission of the Sudan Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SCBC) reminds youths in Africa that Jesus Christ was a young person too, who chose the mission of liberation to save humanity. 

“During this Holy Week, we admire the resilience, the determination, the focus, and leadership of our Lord Jesus Christ. From the onset of his mission, he never wavered. He remained focused on the plan of God the Father to save humanity. He knew He was God but chose to be like any of us,” he said.

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The South Sudanese Catholic leader noted that behind the cross of our Savior Jesus Christ is life. He challenged young people in Africa to “wake up”, telling them, “Behind the cross that you carry, there is life.”

“You have all the knowledge, all the courage, all the ability and all the resilience. All you need to do is remain focused on the journey. Never waver. Never be pulled back. Because behind this cross there is hope for salvation,” Bishop Hiiboro emphasized.

He added, “It is you young people who will resurrect this continent. May peace be your language in everything you do.”

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.