AFRICA/SOUTH SUDAN - Sister Elena Balatti: “Paride Taban testified that hatred is not the right way”

Monday, 6 November 2023 bishops   peace   fraternity  

Juba (Agenzia Fides) - "My first thought when I heard about the death of Bishop Paride Taban on the evening of All Saints was 'he has gone to the saints'; I was not the only one, I heard other people make the same remark", Sister Elena Balatti, a Comboni missionary who lives and works in Malakal, South Sudan, told Fides. Sister Elena knew Paride Taban, the first bishop of Torit, who died on November 1st (see Fides 3/11/2023) and describes her memory to Fides. "Bishop Taban tried to live his life as a Christian, placing himself at the service of all and especially the last," emphasizes Sister Elena. "He gave a particular example: While in many cultural contexts, including that of South Sudan, and as Pope Francis warns, careers in the church are sometimes sought, Paride Taban had resigned from his episcopate prematurely, at the age of 65. He had done so for various reasons and then received permission from the Holy See to proceed with the realization of his dream, namely the creation of a community of different tribes, often in conflict with each other, so that they could live, go to school and work together. "The village community was called Kuron and is very vibrant. I believe that this is an important legacy of Paride Taban: to bring people together despite ancient conflicts to live together peacefully, especially the young people. That of Paride Taban is such a current dream for our world tormented by so many difficulties and enmities" emphasizes the missionary. "Paride Taban spent a large part of his life witnessing that hatred is not the right path, that there is always another path, that of fraternity," concludes Sister Elena. The Peace Village of Kuron is located in the state of Eastern Equatoria, on the southeastern border of South Sudan. Paride Taban had the idea for a peace village back in the 1990s when he visited “Neve Shalom” in Israel, a place where Jews and Palestinians live together peacefully. The first nucleus of the village was founded in 2000. In the following years, the Kuron Peace Village was founded and named after the Holy Trinity. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 6/11/2023)