“Be among the people”: Catholic Bishop in South Sudan to Newly Ordained Priest

A poster announcing the March 25 Priestly ordination of Deacon Justin Salah Martin Juma in South Sudan's Yei Diocese. Credit: Yei Diocese

The Catholic Bishop of South Sudan’s Yei Diocese has called upon Deacon Justin Salah Martin Juma whom he ordained a Priest to practice his Priestly ministry by being “among the people”.

In his homily during the March 25 event, Bishop Alex Lodiong Sakor Eyobo said the Church needs Priests who, like Jesus Christ, are at the service of the people of God, and not those who pursue personal interests.

“Today you are going to be a Priest of the Catholic Church in the footsteps of Christ because it is Christ who chose you,” Bishop Lodiong said during the Eucharistic celebration that was held at St. Joseph the Worker Parish-Lutaya of the Catholic Diocese of Yei.

“So let your life be among the people,” the South Sudanese Priest told the Deacon he was about to ordain a Priest, and added, “We don’t want Priests who want to be holy in their rooms because Christ was a savior because he was among the people.”

In practicing the Priestly ministry, Bishop Lodiong said, “be with the people by proclaiming the good news for them.”


The Ordination of a new Priest is “a gift God has given to this Church because the Church has had no Priest for eleven years,” the 51-year-old South Sudanese Bishop who started his Episcopal Ministry in May 2022 said, adding, “Let this ordination open a way for the Diocese of Yei to ordain more Priests to serve the people of God.”

He went on to say that the March 25 Priestly Ordination was “very significant because it helps immediate resumption of robust pastoral activities to the local communities in the area.” 

“The ordination signals the beginning of new hope and trust for the refugees and internally displaced persons to return home,” the Local Ordinary of Yei Diocese who has been vocal against politicians who incite refugees to violence and advocated for the enhancement of peaceful coexistence between the military and civilians to facilitate the return of South Sudanese refugees said.

The Ordination of a new Priest for his Episcopal See, he said, “also instills hope, trust and confidence as one way of accelerating the return of the refugees and the internally displaced persons into their places of origin to rebuild on their livelihoods.” 

On his part, the newly ordained Priest who is expected to serve as Parish Priest of St. Joseph the Worker Parish-Lutaya conveyed his heartfelt gratitude to his immediate family and the entire Diocesan family for the thoughtful mentorship and prayers accorded to him. 

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Speaking after his Priestly Ordination, Fr. Juma called for teamwork in the Parish, saying, “Now that we are going to take this journey together, it’s important that we work together to spread the word of God to our families.”

“It’s time to work hard so that our people can return home from the neighboring countries to be with us before,” Fr. Juma further said, and added, “It’s the beginning of renewed momentum towards propagating the gospel of Christ to some of the unreached localities following the just ending violence that has engulfed most parts of the State.”

Speaking at the same March 25 event, Central Equatoria State Governor, Emmanuel Adil Anthony said his government was committed “to working with the Church and the newly ordained Parish Priest to move the State to its full path of sustainable peace and development.”

“The Church played an instrumental role in propagating messages of peace, reconciliation and service for humanity through their pastoral interventions, which (are) clearly evidenced by the recent pastoral tours by Bishop Alex Lodiong,” Governor Adil Anthony said.

He went on to appeal to the Church “to continue consolidating the government’s efforts on Peace building through re-engaging those who are still carrying up arms against the Government to denounce violence.”


Patrick Juma Wani is a South Sudanese journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. Patrick holds a Diploma in Journalism and Mass Communication from Makerere Institute for Social Development (MISD) in Uganda. He has over 7 years of extensive experience in leading the development and implementation of media, advocacy, communication and multimedia strategy and operations, with an excellent track record of editorial leadership, budget management, and stakeholder outreach. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.