Last Monday, May 1, I flew from Nairobi to Juba, the Capital of South Sudan. During our approach we flew over the Nile, and crossed it again on our way to Torit. It was the smoothest flight and arrival I've ever had into Juba. Extensive renovations are underway at the airport and a huge amount of new construction has taken place in the city since I last visited it in late 2010.
One of the principal objectives during this visit was to finalize plans for the roofing project for St. Peter Claver Church in Lowoi. There were several meetings involving Fr. Joseph Ochan - parish priest in Lowoi, Ydo Jacobs - assistant administrator for the diocese, Erick Olum - contractor, Richard Lamb - project engineer and Martin Kioko - diocesan accountant. We reviewed the quotation, finalized the contract and authorized the transfer of funds. Materials are being ordered and will be imported from Uganda, and as soon as they arrive at the site, construction will begin and should be completed within one month. In June, the faithful of Lowoi will be able to attend Mass and prayers in their newly roofed church - which will be especially appreciated with the heavy downpours which have been falling this rainy season!
While the programs and outreach at Mercy House are in a period of transition and reshaping under the leadership of Fr. Chris, this past Saturday I was still able to meet with the young men and women who formerly participated in the St. Daniel Comboni Missionary Youth. We watched part of a film on the life of St. Philip Neri, read and discussed the section of the YOUCAT (new youth catechism) on the Resurrection, spent time in Eucharistic Adoration and Lectio Divina and ended the day with Mass.