Father in heaven,
change our selfishness into self-giving.
Help us to embrace the world you have given us,
that we may transform the darkness of its pain
into the life and joy of Easter.
I pray with the whole Church for the Pope’s intentions this month:
That people may learn to respect creation and care for it as a gift of God.
That persecuted Christians may feel the consoling presence of the Risen Lord and the solidarity of all the Church.
We were driving to the MAJIS farm at Akol Jal, about 12 km outside Rumbek, South Sudan when a woman approached our vehicle and waved us down. She asked to speak to me and brought us to her house which was some distance from the road. There were six children there, including twin babies just a few months old. Deborah, once an auxiliary in Khartoum, told us that she was unable to produce enough breast milk to feed her babies. She lives in a location known locally as ‘Khartoum’ because all who live there now used to live in Khartoum before South Sudan became independent. All the Christians were expelled and now all live in dire poverty on the outskirts of Rumbek in mud huts which leak like sieves in the rainy season. Deborah almost drowned in the River Nile when the barge taking her to South Sudan sank. We gave Deborah two tins of milk for the infants but we cannot give her back the means to earn a living. She remains cheerful despite her circumstances. In countries like Ireland we take the freedom to practise religion as a given but in Sudan and many other countries people are denied this basic right.
- Richard O’Dwyer SJ, extracted from Living Prayer