Yambio (Agenzia Fides) - "Like these Holy Parents, we also find hope: Hope in the salvation Christ’s birth brings us; hope in a vaccine for the Coronavirus; hope that gradually we can fill our churches again without fear at all, gather as families again, return to school again, and be fully employed again; hope for a better, calmer 2022", writes the bishop of the diocese of Tombura-Yambio, Mgr. Barani Eduardo Hiiboro Kussala in the message sent for Christmas. "Despite the worry in our villages and the political shouting, the violence, the pandemic has forced us to realize that we are created in God’s image and likeness, redeemed by the Infant Savior, and, from the stable of Bethlehem, that we rely deeply on one another as a human family". "Our State of Western Equatoria or Diocese of Tombura-Yambio, feels different than it did a year ago. The dramatic political events of the year in this state (see Fides, 11/11/2021), and in the diocese, the Internal Displaced Persons, refugee crisis, the inter Communal Violence all over our country, have all contributed to this".
According to a recent report, deprivation levels have been increasing. Msgr. Hiiboro says nearly half the neighborhoods in the county are more deprived than they were five years ago. "Celebrating the birth of Jesus, we are given renewed confidence in the power of goodness and love, and encouraged on to show and share that goodness and love year-round. However, the world changes, these are ways we can all help bring peace on earth, and goodwill to all". In reference to the pandemic, the bishop stressed that the emergence of the omicron variant of the virus and its rapid growth is a source of concern and as a precautionary measure the government must have to reintroduce some rules such as the compulsory wearing of face coverings in most indoor settings. "For places of worship it is still up to individual churches to decide the additional precautions they wish to take based on their own risk assessment to protect others and themselves. Within the Church we believe that everyone is known and loved individually by God and that as many members within one body we are called to be responsible to and for one another, respecting the more vulnerable whose suffering is our suffering (1 Cor 12:12-27)". "May God bless us with good health, renewed spirit, and a true realization and respect for the humanity of our neighbors in 2022. Our hope is in the realization that Christus natus est!" concludes the bishop. (EHK/AP) (Agenzia Fides, 23/12/2021)