“Be patient, loyal, faithful to God” amid COVID-19 Challenges: South Sudanese Cleric

Fr. Martin Ochaya of Juba Archdiocese, South Sudan.

A South Sudanese Cleric has expressed concern about the challenges posed by COVID-19 pandemic in the country and urged the faithful in the nine-year-old nation to be patient, loyal and faithful to God in order to overcome these challenges.

“We must be patient, loyal and faithful to God. No matter how long it takes for our prayers to be answered. No matter how long it takes for our challenges to be addressed, there is always the time that God intervenes in our lives,” Fr. Martin Ochaya said during Mass at Saint Joseph’s Parish in South Sudan’s capital, Juba, Sunday, July 12.

Reflecting on the readings of the day, Fr. Martin said, “Today we are like the people of Israel in Babylon. Disappointed and frustrated by the way COVID-19 is impacting on us.”

“Many people are separated from their families. Many people have lost not only their jobs and businesses but their loved ones,” the member of the Archdiocese of Juba clergy said and added, “The economic situation is biting us hard.”

He continued in reference to the COVID-19 restrictions, “Domestic and gender-based violence (have) increased because of stress and depression. So, we turn on each other violently to release this tension.”


“We are worried about the future of our children because schools are closed and some children have adopted bad behaviors,” the Juba-based Cleric added.

South Sudan, which marked its ninth independence anniversary on July 9, recorded the first case of COVID-19 on April 5. Since then, the East-Central African nation has reported at least 2,021 cases including 38 deaths and 333 recoveries.

“We are wondering whether this pandemic will ever end and because of that some of us are no longer using face masks, bypassing washing buckets, no more freshening their hands with hand sanitizers and they have relaxed from compliance,” Fr. Martin shared his observations.

He noted with concern that the prolonged duration of the disease has led to the people questioning God.

“We are asking lots of questions: Where is God in all this? Is he behaving like Humans who do not keep their promises? Has the devil taken over our world today?” Fr. Martin probed. 

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“The answer is No,” he said and added, “God is so close to us at all times and after Christ has shed His blood on the cross the devil no longer has the power to take over this world. God remains in charge”

“God continues to provide us with what keeps us alive and going even if we have lost our jobs and businesses. We are not all dead yet; it is not yet all over; God is with us,” Fr. Martin concluded.