Thursday, October 20, 2011


On Sunday, October 16, we traveled to the town of Lowoi, about 50 km (31 miles) east of Torit. It used to take more than two hours to make that trip, but because of significant improvements on the Juba Road, we made it in just about an hour.

As in the case of many communities in South Sudan, the people of Lowoi suffered a great deal during the war. Most of them relocated from the village's original site at the base of the mountain to safer refuges in the hills. But now that there is peace, many have relocated to their traditional location. The parish church of St. Peter Claver remains structurally intact, but the roof beams and sheet metal were removed during the conflict and used for other purposes.

The roofless St. Peter Claver Church in Lowoi.
Thanks to the generosity of a benefactor, work is already underway to construct new metal trusses to put a new roof on the church building. Additional support will be needed, however, to obtain the metal sheeting and cement that will be needed to complete that phase, as well as other building materials to complete the repairs.

Fr. Joseph Ochan, pastor of St. Peter Claver Parish in Lowoi,
standing at the entrance of the church.

The interior of St. Peter Claver Church.
Although he wasn't expecting us that morning, Fr. Joseph Ochan welcomed us warmly when we arrived, and even asked me to be main celebrant and homilist for the Mass. We had visited Lowoi on several previous occasions, and conducted a parish mission there with the help of a visiting team in June of 2010 (click here to see earlier posts about Lowoi from the CFR Sudan Mission blog).

The "ceiling"  of the sanctuary of the church.
In addition to repairing the parish church, Fr. Ochan is also hoping to refurbish the former priests' residence (below) in the village.

The remaining structure of the former priests' rectory in Lowoi.
We hope to return to Lowoi for additional evangelization activities in some of the parish's outlying settlements on the next mission trip to South Sudan in May 2012.

George and Elizabeth of the St. Daniel Comboni Missionary Youth in Torit
accompanied us on the visit to Lowoi to encourage the local community.

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