By Adia Jildo
Bishop-elect Christian Carlassare has returned to South Sudan after being taken to Nairobi for treatment and later he was taken back to Rome following shooting of his legs by gunmen alleged to scare him from his service on 26th April 2021 in his resident in Rumbek Diocese.
The incident stalled his consecration which had been scheduled for May 2021.The 44-year-old bishop who was appointed by Pope Francis in March 2021 had been serving in the Diocese of Malakal as Vicar General of the Diocese of Malakal.
Bishop-elect Christian Carlassare was due to be consecrated as bishop of Rumbek Diocese, on May 23rd, Pentecost Sunday. But the episcopal ordination was postponed after he was shot on both legs on April 26.
Christian Carlassare landed in Juba International Airport on the 18th March ahead of his consecration to prepare for the day scheduled to take place in the Diocese of Rumbek.
Bishop Christian expressed his gratefulness to God for returning to South Sudan after almost a year being away for treatment and healing.
“My gratitude to God first of all, to this country, church, the Universal church in Rome and the local church in South Sudan with all the bishops of this country and all the people who are Christians and belief in peace, I wish you peace that you are welcoming me today, it is a great joy,” he said.
I appreciated the local government of Lakes state and the national government for the common effort put together to make sure his coming was possible, “I am really grateful to be adopted by this country and to be a brother to everyone to exclude no one but to serve everyone for this community that has welcomed me and made me a brother,” Carlassare said.
Meanwhile Father Louis Tony Okot, the Provincial Superior of the Comboni Missionaries in South Sudan expressed his joy in receiving bishop-elect of Rumbek Diocese calling the people to welcome him as he shares his life and serve the people of South Sudan.
Father Tony also told reporters at Juba International Airport that Christian’s return to South Sudan showed that he is one of people of South Sudan meant to serve the people.
“My call to the whole nation of South Sudan is that this is our son. He has come to serve us; he has come to live with us, he has come to share the life with us and let us receive him with joy, with enthusiasm and with passion and together to work with him to make the Kingdom of God possible in the world. The return of Bishop Christian is an event of great joy” Tony said.
Victoria Akot, one of the Sacred Heart Sisters expressed to reporters at the airport that, “we are glad by the return of Christian Carlassare from Italy after he was shot on his legs almost facing death. I felt that it would be a very joyous day for me to see him really on his feet back to Juba. I was very happy and indeed I am very happy up to now to see our bishop-elect on his two feet moving”.
She called on Christians to continue to pray for the Diocese of Rumbek for God’s presence in the lives of people of Rumbek.
“We as Christians or believers and people who are consecrated to serve the lord, we do not have boundaries, tribes so we are ready to go and serve wherever,” she lamented.
She said they as Christians are ready to go and serve wherever they are called to serve.
“What ever happened to the bishop-elect, God knows and those who did it know why it happened. The Lord was great with all what has happened,” Sister Victoria said.
She assured the continuity of the service by Christian Carlassare to serve forever by accepting to return to church.
Fr. Christian Carlassare will be consecrated on 25th March 2022 on the feast of the Annunciation as the Bishop-elect of Rumbek Diocese.
The High court scheduled 25th March for the final submission of documents from the prosecutors and defense for review before the court would announce the day for the final verdict for the state of the four accused.