Catholic Bishop in South Sudan Directs Four-day “organized prayer” for Safety of Missing Priest, Driver

Credit: CDTY

Bishop Edward Hiiboro Kussala of South Sudan’s Catholic Diocese of Tombura Yambio (CDTY) has directed Parishes and other institutions in his Episcopal See to have “organized prayer” for four days for the intention of the safety of Fr. Luke Yugue and his driver, Michael Gbeko.

Fr. Luke and Michael have been missing since April 27, the day they left South Sudan’s Nagero County for Tombura in Western Equatoria State on a motorbike.

“I hereby appeal to all of you wherever you are, specifically in our parishes and institutions to hold an organized prayer for a good four days beginning on May 2nd, 2024, for Fr. Yugue and Mr. Gbeko,” Bishop Hiiboro says in a Thursday, May 2 message.

He directs that Holy Mass be offered in all institutions of CDTY and highlights various intentions besides “the release of Fr. Yugue and Mr. Gbeko”.

The Holy Mass, Bishop Hiiboro directs, should also have the intention of “peace and reconciliation of the country.”


He calls upon the people of God in his Episcopal See “to pray the prayer directed for Diocesan Year of Faith, to make an hour of adoration every day alone or with a group, and finally pray Holy Rosary daily and ask the maternal protection of Mary, Mother of help for our two brothers and many more.”

Earlier, in two separate statements, Bishop Hiiboro asked the leadership of Western Equatoria State as well as the national government to provide answers on the “whereabouts” of Fr. Luke and Michael.

In his April 28 statement, Bishop Hiiboro provided timelines of his missing Priest, who he said travelled “by road on Motorbike together with his Driver Mr. Gbeko.”

“They were last found online at 1:00 PM when called by Catechist Ngbandua of Maringindo,” the South Sudanese Catholic Bishop said, and added, “UP until now Fr. Luke and his Driver have not reached Tombura and are missing, their telephones are off.”

Meanwhile, in his April 29 statement that he addressed to South Sudan’s President, Salva Kiir Mayardit, Bishop Hiiboro sought the President’s “intervention for the release and safety” of Fr. Luke and Michael.

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Fr. Luke, he explained, “had gone on a pastoral mission to serve the people of God in Nagero County where he has been working. On his return on 27th April 2024, we lost contact with him to date. The area where he and his driver went missing is under the control of the SPLM/ (10) forces.”

“As a church, we appeal to Your Excellency to help us bring Fr. Luka and those with him alive,” Bishop Hiiboro said in his April 29 letter to President Kiir, which he shared with ACI Africa.

In his May 2 statement, Bishop Hiiboro says, “Our destiny is in God’s hands. God must change the hearts of all, bringing peace to this nation.”

“The Republic of South Sudan as a nation has suffered a lot and it should end,” the Local Ordinary of CDTY since his Episcopal Consecration in June 2008 laments.

He goes on to urge all South Sudanese to “work for durable peace”, adding that “for the last ten years, South Sudan has been in conflict and only tears and brokenness of innocent people have remained.”


“Despite the recent events, as a nation, we need to invest in peace,” the Catholic Church leader further laments, and continued, “Nobody has won a war in this country. It is our duty to work towards peace. Human dignity is given by God and no amount of violence can negate people's aspiration for human dignity; peace is still possible; peace is the way.”.

“My appeal is for us all to keep in mind the bigger picture of the sacredness of life and stability of our nation and the emergency situation that presents itself,” Bishop Hiiboro says in his May 2 statement.

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.