Posts Tagged ‘Peacebuilding’

Seeking Justice and Peace

Monday, June 27th, 2016
Catholic Relief Services and its partners host a day for religious leaders to visit and pray with Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Bangui, the Central African Republic on 28 May, 2014.

Catholic Relief Services and its partners host a day for religious leaders to visit and pray with internally displaced persons in Bangui, the Central African Republic. Photo by Catianne Tijerina for CRS

Dear Friend,

This month we mark the 240th anniversary of Thomas Jefferson’s stirring words: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

That passage from the Declaration of Independence shares a mutual foundation with Catholic social teaching—the dignity of mankind. Consider Pope Francis’ words on this year’s World Day of Peace: “As creatures endowed with inalienable dignity, we are related to all our brothers and sisters, for whom we are responsible and with whom we act in solidarity. Lacking this relationship, we would be less human.” (more…)

Bringing Peace and Development to South Sudan

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

Sean Callahan, CRS executive vice president for overseas operations, recently traveled to South Sudan to witness first-hand the state of the new nation and Catholic Relief Services’ work there. Here are some of his reflections on peace and the role of the Church:

When South Sudan gained independence from its northern neighbor last year, it was a moment of tremendous victory for the new nation. But nine months after secession, the country—counted among the most impoverished in the world—continues to face significant challenges.
Tensions and violence on the border with Sudan remain, especially in the areas of South Kordofan and Blue Nile, and the border itself has not yet been demarcated. In recent weeks, there have been concerns over oil revenue, with the South accusing the North of stealing its oil—subsequently shutting down all production. Since this is the major source of income for the government of South Sudan, it has put into place austerity measures, which could hamper development efforts.

CRS World Report: El Salvador Youth

Friday, September 16th, 2011

Where gang members used to turn up dead, children now play basketball.

Listen to World Report.

Rain Blesses the Launch of 101 Days of Prayer for Peace in Sudan

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

By Michael Hill

The rain thundered down in Juba, the capital city of south Sudan, making for what seemed a rather inauspicious beginning to the 101 Days of Prayer campaign that was kicking off on the International Day of Peace, September 21.

After all, hundreds of people were expected to march through the streets of Juba to official ceremonies held at the cultural center of the University of Juba. That seemed impossible with the heavy downpours turning the dusty dirt streets into oceans of mud.

But it turns out that the Sudanese would not look at rain on their parade as a bad sign. In this part of the world, where people live close to the ground, where droughts are all too well-known, rain is a good sign. Rain brings life. If it rains on a couple’s wedding day, that’s a fine omen. Rain was blessing the 101 Days of Prayer for Peace.


A Sudanese Peacebuilding Tradition: The Long, Boring Meeting

Friday, September 10th, 2010

Water sharing

St. Patrick’s Church in Nimule, southern Sudan, is the scene of meetings large and small. Even the most contentious issues can often be brought to mutual agreement in a weekend when all parties are allowed to meet and be heard. Photo by Karen Kasmauski for CRS

by John Lindner

In yesterday’s post I said peacebuilding is a well and a school and a traffic light. Today, I look at another thing peacebuilding is: It’s boring.

Of course I mean that in a really good way….

Sudan: Peacebuilding is a Well, a Soccer Field, a Church

Thursday, September 9th, 2010
Water sharing

Students at Olikwi Primary School share water from a well CRS built. By removing anxiety over access to water, wells become important peacebuilding tools. Photo by Karen Kasmauski for CRS

by John Lindner

Peacebuilding is a well. It’s a school. It’s a farm, a clinic, a nurse, a community center, a soccer field, a church and a traffic light. And wherever people are living together in peace, that peace has been built.

In the U.S., we don’t think about peacebuilding because most of the heavy lifting has been done for us. Most of the maintenance structures are in place. For instance: At our intersections, we have traffic lights.

Sudan: Father Joseph Mawa, Peacebuilder

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

Abuna Mawa

Father Joseph Mawa, right, pastor of St. Patrick’s Church in Nimule, souther Sudan, helps display a microfinance lockbox. Because it brings financial stability to participants, microfinance is considered a peacebuilding tool. Photo by Karen Kasmauski for CRS

by John Lindner

Father Joseph Mawa gives us a good definition of peacebuilding.

“A lot of people say peace is a ceasefire,” he said one afternoon under a shady tree outside St. Patrick’s Church in Nimule, Sudan.

Nimule (nim-U-lay) is just across the White Nile from Uganda. Many of the Sudanese now living in Nimule have returned in the past few years from long exile on the other side of the river.

“Peace is more than a ceasefire,” Father Joseph said. “It is freedom from fear, freedom from anxiety.”

Sudan: Changing the Future vs Repeating the Past

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010
Sudan village

A woman walks through her village in Nimule, near the Uganda border. CRS peacebuilding aims to spare villages like this from a resurgence of violence. Photo by Karen Kasmauski for CRS

by John Lindner

“Rwanda changed us.”

I quote Michael Weist, CRS vice president of Charitable Giving, and a longtime CRS veteran.

In 1994, within the span of 100 days, 800,000 Rwandans were murdered during a grisly ethnic massacre made all the more ghastly by having been perpetrated by fellow Rwandans.

I detect a distinct atmospheric shift in any room of CRS headquarters when the subject of Rwanda is raised. Veteran CRS staffers take Rwanda personally.

An Exciting Time to Work in Southern Sudan

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009
Sudan classroom

While southern Sudan desperately needs more schools, efforts are being made by the government, CRS and other agencies to give children the education they deserve. Photo by Debbie DeVoe/CRS

Tom Purekal moved to Juba in July 2009 to serve as CRS’ program manager for peacebuilding and governance in southern Sudan. Here is his first report from the field.

I chose a critical time to work in southern Sudan. So much of what happens over the next two years will set the tone for the country’s future, which is especially relevant for my work in peacebuilding and governance.

After finishing an intense two years with CRS in India, I was looking for a challenging project that would bring me to Africa for the first time in my career. In terms of need, Sudan doesn’t disappoint.

Riots Break Out in Kampala as Peacebuilders Meet in Uganda

Friday, September 11th, 2009

In an ironic twist of fate, riots in Kampala affected a Caritas- and government-sponsored peacebuilding conference in Kampala. The riots broke out yesterday in reaction to a planned Saturday visit of a local king to an area near the capital that says it has seceded from his kingdom, according to the BBC. Caritas Internationalis’ head of communications Patrick Nicholson shares an update from the conference, which fortunately was able to continue. Our prayers go out for a rapid return to peace and reconciliation.