The Diocese of Saskatoon recently entered into a twinning relationship with the Diocese of Torit, South Sudan.
To respond to the present crisis in South Sudan, in which some five million are facing food insecurity and famine, please see the Development and Peace website at: https://www.devp.org/en/emergencies/south-sudan
So…What Is a Parish Twinning Relationship?
Twinning IS about….
- growing and sharing faith journeys together with Our Lord
- learning from each other spiritualties, service & worship styles
- building a mutual relationship of solidarity between parishes
- promoting social justice and peace with/for each other
- developing joyful, supportive friendships in another culture
Twinning is NOT about….
- changing others ( but maybe ourselves)
- imposing our way of life, culture
- only building infrastructure
- only fund raising
Outline for Twinning Process
Diocese of Torit, South Sudan with Diocese of Saskatoon, Canada
Step One: Parish to Parish Twinning
The committee will approach a parish in our diocese and request that it twin with a parish in South Sudan.
The committee will meet with the parish priest, the parish council and other interested individuals to begin the process.
Identify a parish in the Diocese of Torit that has made a request for a twinning partner in Saskatoon. Have this parish send us information and begin frequent contact.
Dire situation in South Sudan affects area twinned with Diocese of Saskatoon
JULY 2016 - A message to parishes involved in twinning with South Sudan:
It is with a heavy heart that I inform you that St. Mary's Assumption Parish in Loa and the Diocese of Torit are in a time of deep crisis. As you can read in the document from Fr. Martin Vuni (click here: http://saskatoonrcdiocese.com/sites/default/files/south_sudan_crisis.pdf ) the fragile peace that was coming to shape in South Sudan is now being threatened. There is no doubt that many parishioners from St. Mary's Assumption Parish have fled their homes in order to seek a safer haven. Most civilians have crossed the border into Uganda. Recently 8300 fled South Sudan into Uganda in a single day which is a record exodus for 2016 according to the United Nations. Over the span of a week 26,000 people have left their homes behind. All avenues of normality and necessity across the country have come to a halt. Health centres have closed, markets have shut down, commerce is frozen and schools are not functioning. When an economy comes to a halt so does the supply of food and in some cases safe drinking water. In circumstances where individuals, families and communities have some control over their food security they have lost access to attending to their crops and livestock fearful of leaving family members alone and the limited security that their homes are offering if they have been able to remain there. In a time of conflict it is always the most vulnerable who are left to carry the weight of an unstable environment. At current many seniors, infants and children are lacking essentials to survive.
As your twinning relationship begins I invite you to think of creative ways of reaching out, bringing hope and advocating for the people of St. Mary's Assumption Parish. For the foreseeable future contact may remain very limited. Fr. Martin Vuni whom we have been in contact with is safely situated now in Uganda and through him we anticipate receiving further updates. As populations fluctuate during this time of instability the nature of your relationship will temporarily evolve of one that is parish to parish into one that is people to people. Prayer is the fundamental action that you can take to deepen your relationship. If Catholic or other credible aid organizations begin to offer relief into the areas of unrest the diocese will make that opportunity available to you. Thirdly, advocacy is an essential component of friendship. This current conflict has fallen under the radar of many media outlets and bodies of government in a time when the world has been stricken with many disheartening conflicts. Advocacy in action can mean setting up a meeting with your Member of Parliament or being in contact with them about the situation. All of you have a circle of influence, thus through direct conversations and the stage of social media further prayer, awareness and advocacy can assist the people of South Sudan. In other public forms that you have access to within your parish and wider community let people know that you are twinning and that there is a crisis, examples could be bulletins along with community newspapers. If you are looking for information regarding meeting with your MP or resources to make public please contact me directly.
As the early stages of twinning take on a wider context for you communications you provide will be forwarded to our contacts on the ground. It is uncertain at this time that your messages will reach the parish body directly, however this is an opportunity to be in solidarity with mass groups of people comforted by your prayers, solidarity and hope that you can offer. I encourage you to continue to work on the Twinning Intro Template that as friends the people of St. Mary's Assumption may come to know more about you. Finally please pray as a community and listen to the direction of the Holy Spirit.
Myron Rogal Coordinator of the Office of Justice and Peace, Diocese of Saskatoon, 306-659-5841, justpeace [at] saskatoonrcdiocese.com