Friday, October 14, 2011

Arrival in Torit

A small Toposa settlement on the outskirts of Kapoeta.

Maynor, Will and I arrived safely in Torit after a somewhat bumpy flight that took us from Nairobi via Lokichoggio and a stop at the airstrip in Kapoeta (above). We were delighted to be greeted by four young people from the St. Daniel Comboni Missionary Youth. Ydo Jacobs, a Dutch layman who has worked with the Diocese of Torit for many years, picked us up at the airport and took us to the bishop’s residence, where we dined with His Lordship Akio Johnson Mutek and several other guests. Bishop Akio arrived just a few days before us to a very enthusiastic welcome at the airstrip, followed by a stop at the tomb of Fr. Saturnino Ohure, before reaching his house. On Sunday there was a jubilant joint celebration of the bishop’s return home combined with the commemoration of St. Daniel Comboni, the Apostle of Africa. Bishop Akio expressed his sincere gratitude for our return visit and reiterated his strong hope and desire that we would continue to make regular trips to the diocese for evangelization activities.

Returning to Mercy House for the first time in almost a year.

I was extremely happy to discover  that  we  would be  staying at Mercy House, which is still awaiting the religious who are expected to reside there in the near future. I was also very grateful to learn that the chapel continues to be used regularly by different groups from the local parish: youth, evangelizers and the Legion of Mary. We were moved to  see small children stopping to pray the Rosary there almost daily on their way home from school.

Children praying in the Mercy House chapel (above and below).

There was a spontaneous gathering of about 20 youth for an impromptu Holy Hour the day we arrived. I was again deeply moved and encouraged by how much the youth have been formed and how eager they were to pray. We gathered with some of the young men the following afternoon to watch a video about the life of Blessed Pope John Paul II. 

Young men watching scenes from the life of Bl. John Paul II at Mercy House.
The day after we arrived, we joined the local parish for morning Mass and saw how much progress has been made on the new parish church. The walls have been raised, and the diocese is now trying to raise the funds for the roof. When finished it will be able to hold more than 1,000 people.

The new parish church under construction in Torit Town (above);
view of the sanctuary (below).

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