South Sudanese Diocese Set to Dedicate Feast of Don Bosco to Youth Challenges

St. John Bosco

As the Church prepares to commemorate the life of St. John Bosco, a priest known for his humility and dedication to helping young boys succeed in life, a Catholic Diocese in South Sudan has chosen to dedicate this year’s January 31 commemoration to the challenges that continue to face young people.

In a message shared with CI Africa on Wednesday, January 20, Bishop Eduardo Hiiboro Kussala of South Sudan’s Tombura-Yambio Diocese said that Don Bosco was a true model youth minister who provided tangible solutions to youth challenges.

“The year 2021 in the Catholic Diocese of Tombura-Yambio is the year of work and hence celebrating the life of Don Bosco, the Patron Saint of the Catholic Youth Ministry, will be a celebration of solutions to difficulties, a celebration of challenges facing young people in our diocese,” said Bishop Hiiboro.

The story of Don Bosco is an inspiration of the ability of God to express His will through dreams.

The founder of the Salesian order started his life with a humble background from an agricultural setup, only with his mother because his father died while he was very young.


To inspire the youth in South Sudan, Bishop Hiiboro reminded the young Catholics of Don Bosco’s ability to rescue boys from hardships.

“Don Bosco was and still remains patron Saint for those difficult things; he remains the patron saint for solutions,” the South Sudanese Bishop said and added, “Don Bosco found the young people in problems, he found the young people in difficulty, he found the young people going aimlessly and he decided to devote his time and his life to rescue them.”

After the challenging year 2020, the diocese has a “new way” of celebrating this year’s Don Bosco Commemoration, he said.

“This year 2021 in the Catholic Diocese of Tombura-Yambio is the year of work, of constructions, of renovation, of renewal and therefore the youth ministry celebrating Don Bosco as their patron Saint would celebrate John Bosco as a solution to our challenges that face the youth of today,” he further said.

Advising the youth to imitate Don Bosco, the Bishop requested them to draw personal and institutional plans to be implemented in the New Year.

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“Dear young people in the Catholic Diocese of Tombura-Yambio, this year the celebration must take the path of which Don Bosco took,” he said and posed, “Are the young people in the Catholic Diocese of Tombura-Yambio having any challenge? Do the youth in the Catholic Diocese of Tombura-Yambio have any difficulties? Are they facing any specific social community diocesan problems?”

 “In this celebration, I want to see your plan, I want to see your benchmark of what you want to do in this year of work,” he said and added, “The topic for our prayer is focusing on what are the challenges, what are the elements disturbing you as the young people.”

Bishop Hiiboro suggested that on St. Don Bosco Day, January 31, each youth in his diocese chooses three targets to achieve before the end of the year 2021.

“I want each of you to sit down and look at the challenges in your homes, in your parish, in your deanery; pick out one or two among them in this year of work,” the Bishop said and added, “As you are celebrating, you will be telling the Christian community in the Diocese about the solutions you identified for those particular challenges.”

He told each youth in his Diocese, “You will need to request the entire Diocese to stand with you in order to get solutions to those issues you will identify. I am going to stand with you a hundred percent in whatever you are going to choose and do this year 2021.”


“Many of you in your parishes do not have good houses and money in their accounts; you don’t have instruments for singing and many more that you need to prioritize,” he said.

Don Bosco spent his entire adult life ministering to the needs of the children on the streets. He worked to help both boys and girls, educating them, bringing them to the Sacraments, and teaching them the trades of shoemaking and tailoring. Others were mentored to run a printing press.

Pope Pius XI encouraged Don Bosco to gather a group together to continue his ministry. With 17 other men, he founded the Salesians, named after St. Francis de Sales.

Later, Don Bosco organized a group of Salesian Sisters to minister to girls.

Today, the Salesians are the second largest Religious Order in the world. They serve the youth by focusing on the whole person, body and soul united.

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St. John Bosco, also called Don Bosco, died in 1888 at the age of 73. He is the patron saint of youth, young apprentices, Catholic publishers and editors.