Golden Jubilee of Sudan Catholic Bishops’ Conference to Foster Two-nation Unity

The Official logo of the Eucharistic Congress and the Golden Jubilee celebration. Credit: Kerbino Kuel Deng/ACI Africa

The yearlong Golden Jubilee celebrations of the establishment of the Sudan Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SCBC) seeks to foster the unity of the people of God in the Conference that brings together those at the helm of the two Catholic Dioceses in Sudan and the seven in South Sudan.

In an interview with ACI Africa, the Director for the twin celebrations of the Golden Jubilee and the Eucharistic Congress said the celebrations are also to honor past and present Catholic Bishops in the two neighboring countries.

“What we are calling here Golden Jubilee is the first establishment of the Sudan Catholic Bishops’ Conference in 1974 in Khartoum,” Fr. John Gbemboyo told ACI Africa during the Tuesday, September 5 interview.

The Golden Jubilee celebration, Fr. Gbemboyo added, “is a way of maintaining our unity as Catholics across the boundaries; we are not a political entity; we are a Catholic faith-based body.”

“We want to honor this time and our Bishops who worked from the beginning; those who have died, we thank God for their lives and their contribution,” he further said about the yearlong celebrations that are set to be launched on November 26, the Solemnity of Christ the King, in South Sudan’s Wau Diocese.


Fr. John Gbemboyo, Pastoral and Social Communication Coordinator in the Sudan Catholic Bishops' Conference and Director for the Golden Jubilee and Eucharistic Congress. Credit: Fr. John Gbemboyo

The member of the Clergy of the Catholic Diocese of Tombura-Yambio (CDTY) in South Sudan, who coordinates the Pastoral and Social Communication Departments of the SCBC continued, “Those Bishops who are still alive, we need to celebrate with them; and the new ones, time for them to strengthen their faith and their resolve to serve the Church.”

“It is important basically because as Catholics, since the independence of South Sudan in 2011, the Catholic Church remained one body,” the South Sudanese Catholic Priest further said, adding, “This means Bishops in Sudan and South Sudan who had been in the beginning as one people remain the same in order to support each other in both countries.” 

He highlighted the apostolate of the Juba-based two-nation Conference, saying, “We continue to serve together as Bishops from both sides, supporting each other and plan programs together.”

“That is why we celebrate as one country and take into consideration our history, heritage, culture, and our rich Christianity,” Fr. Gbemboyo further said during the September 5 interview, and added, “We saw that it is good we celebrate together to maintain the unity of our faith, the unity of the people.”

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He recalled, “Before 1974, there were missionaries working in Sudan; when they ordained the new young Bishops by then, they established what is called the Sudan Catholic Bishops’ Conference.”

“This means the indigenous Bishops from the country became a body able to run themselves and the Church,” Fr. Gbemboyo explained.

“The celebration is calling us to be together as a body of Christ and also be together in our various situations,” he further said in reference to the planned Golden Jubilee and Eucharistic Congress celebrations that will be marked under the theme, “One body, one spirit in Christ”.

He acknowledged the person of Jesus Christ as being central in the planned twin celebrations, saying, “Christ is always present and so we are all united in him.”

“The participants of these celebrations are all our Christians, beginning with the Bishops,” the South Sudanese Catholic Priest told ACI Africa.


He added, “We also thank God that among the first Bishops to take all these responsibilities, we have with us Gabriel Cardinal Zubeir Wako who is still alive; he will be present in the event and we pray for him.”

Fr. Gbemboyo went on to appeal for active participation in the planning and realization of the twin celebrations that will culminate in the Archdiocese of Juba in November 2024.

“The time has come as Catholics to join in these celebrations to thank God for the gift of the Priesthood of Christ of which our Bishops have guided the Church from the beginning as a local Church up to now,” he said.

The Director of the Eucharistic Congress and Golden Jubilee celebrations urged the people of God in Sudan and South Sudan to “support the twin celebrations financially so that they are celebrated well.”

Kerbino Kuel Deng is a South Sudanese journalist who is passionate about Church communication. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.