On the last day of his trip to South Sudan, the Holy See visited the OVC, the Association of Secretaries of State, where holy common people take care of severely disabled children, bringing their Pope’s blessings. He also visited Juba Catholic University, planting a tree as a sign of hope for the future.
Salvatore Sarnugio – Juba’s special envoy
They are ebony color but have a crystal fragility. Moses, Juma, Adia, Mam-Gereng, Emanuel and Majok, 2 years old, Hydrocephalus, in the arms of his mother who held him in her arms with attention to the movement of his head, the faces of the children in front of him Crying and praying. Of the 400 or fewer guests at the center for the disabled in Ujratuna, only six, an Arabic name literally means “our family”.
Whatever you do, do it with love
In the house of Zubar, a truly large house, because of such an environment, thanks to the work and dedication of Daniella, Elena, Gisela, Anna, Tiziana, the small apostles, mainly with Italian collaborators, took care of the holy people. Not just for patients – mainly those with spinal defects and hydrocephalus – but also for their families. Especially for mothers who need emotional support. This is the place where one is greeted by an inscription “Whatever you do, do it with love. “That Cardinal Pietro Parolin, after a mass celebration at the Major Seminary in Saint-Pierre, ended his journey in South Sudan, which began in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The main character of the children’s trip
A trip is always accompanied by the presence of children: those who dance and wear festive attire in public, those who crowd the Benteu camp for the displaced, in the middle of flies and water holes, just waiting for someone to shake their hands, those who line the street barefoot, Outside and inside the ditch where, according to a new City Ordinance, garbage should be incinerated. It is again the children, but the sick, who end this brief account of faces and smiles which the Cardinal Secretary of State brings back to Rome, as a gift to the Pope to see his next apostolic journey.
As always, Cardinal Paroline, like all the events of these African days, reiterated the Pope’s affection for the community at the Ujratuna Center. In his name he encouraged them and gave them strength; He blessed them in his name; An affection, paying attention to their physical weakness, their attached IVs, their bandaged arms or, very simply, a gentleman in white clothes, including the crown of the streamer, for fear of sitting down to shake their little hands. “No, no, don’t cryThe cardinal called a little girl taller than the others hiding behind her mother’s skirt.
Choir for children with disabilities
A choir of children wearing orange shirts greeted the Secretary of State at the entrance. One of them, unarmed, handed him a bouquet of flowers. It is a symbolic and powerful figure. And a curly-haired, blind child sang a tune into a colleague’s microphone:Welcome, welcome dear cardinal“The reception was delightful, but after a while the push turned violent. Cardinal Paroline is walking through two corridors where mothers with their children, with obvious disabilities and defective, sitting on the floor in colorful clothes, are all lined up and ready to welcome.”God bless you “Cardinal repetition, accompanying those gestures with caresses and cross signs on the forehead.
He then enters various rooms where some therapy takes place, including sessions for autistic children. This morning, there are two of them, one playing the xylophone in honor of a distinguished guest dressed in pink. “Cheers!Paroline says. Meanwhile, mothers are smiling, some people’s eyes are tired and tired, they don’t even notice the flies in their children’s mouths, but when the cardinal passes by, they show their children with joy. They have long since overcome this effect that strikes them as the first time they see these pictures like a kick in the stomach.
A little Christ on the cross
Even the cardinal seems fascinated. He tries to greet everyone without forgetting anyone: he leans forward, kneels down, holds his hand, presses his cheek. He paused only once, wondering what it would look like to look like a little crucified Christ. He is only eight years old. Instead of nails, it has infusion syringes; On his head, not the crown of thorns, a part of his jaw has been completely displaced to the side; Stretcher instead of cross. He is the subject of special care; He may not have to live long. “We rarely have the strength to deal with this difficult case. Often we also lack spiritual and psychological strength., Explains Matteo, a 33-year-old aid worker from Bologna who has been in Juba for a year with his wife, Carolla. “Death seems to be more accustomed to the normal life cycle of human beings. For us, it’s destructive. “.
“They represent Jesus …”
After stopping at the dispensary, Paroline goes to the main courtyard and prays to our Father with everyone present, to whom he repeats that he has come to the center from the Pope, from his affection, from his will. Stay with them Soon after, he went to St. Mary’s College, a central college that helps families of the sick specialize in caring for the disabled. Singing and wailing, flower petals thrown from the basket, restrained “That’s great! Hallelujah! ” Greet the cardinal, who encouraged them to continue caring for these little victims: “They represent Jesus.”
And the suffering – women, youth, minors, victims of war – the Secretary of State has talked about it with Sudan and four students at the Catholic University of South Sudan, a source of hope for the country that prepares future leaders. For a future of peace and reconciliation. Cardinal Paroline met with students, teachers and staff during a visit to the community, which was characterized by music, dancing and flower-throwing. Twick, Clementina, Christine, Helena, in particular, asked where the church stood in a state of grief. “The church is in this situation, it is a sign of hope. “, Paroline replied, recalling the experience of the Bentieu camp where, in addition to the displaced, there were also catechists and missionaries. “We are here, we are not giving up, we are on the side, we are walking in difficulty“
We are not alone
It’s important, Cardinal says, because it proves “That we are not alone “. So another question, this time from the Cardinal:You tell me what the church does, but I ask you: Who is the church? We are the church. Of course, there are hierarchies, priests, nuns, but all are part of the faithful church. So the question is: what are we doing for these people? We have to be really committed. “ At the end of this exchange, the cardinal, equipped with a spade and a watering can, planted a fig tree, a symbol of the rebirth of the athenium, which recently celebrated its 20th anniversary. “You have a short past but a long and bright future“