By Bida Elly David
Bishop Emeritus Paride Taban of Catholic Diocese Torit passed away, at aged 87, on Wednesday, All Saints Day.
“The Catholic Bishops and the Catholic Church in South Sudan and Sudan would like to announce the return of our dear Bishop Paride Taban which occurred this afternoon 1st November 2023 in Nairobi,” Bishops’ conference announced.
Bishop Emeritus Paride has been unwell for some times before the Good Shepherd called him on the Solemnity of All the Saints.
Further arrangements for the arrival of the body and requiem mass will be updated in due course, according to the statement.
He was the first leader of the Sudan Council of Churches founded in February 1990 and served as an Auxiliary Bishop of Juba on 28 Jan 1980 to 2 July 1983 and served as Bishop of Torit from 1983 to 2004.
In 1989, when the then-rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) overtook Torit, he was arrested along with three other Catholic priests Until 1990.
According to historical facts, Paride and Nathanael Garang were the only two Bishops active in areas held by the SPLA.
Since his retirement from the diocese, he has been leading an effort to make peace in South Sudan real by setting up the Kuron Peace Village, established in 2005.
Taban was sent to Rwanda in the aftermath of the 1994 genocide for reconciliation efforts where his contribution also yielded fruits.
Bishop Paride has received numerous awards including the Sergio Vieira de Mello Peace Prize awarded by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in 2013 for his work at the Holy Trinity Peace Village in Kuron.
Another prize was by Hubert Walter Award for Reconciliation and Interfaith Cooperation awarded by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby in 2017 for co-founding the ecumenical New Sudan Council of Churches, building Kuron Peace Village.
The award was also accounted on chairing mediation between the Government of South Sudan and COBRA Faction of the South Sudan Democratic Movement/Army led by David Yau Yau, with success on 6 January 2014.
In December 2016, Taban was appointed by the President Salva Kiir Mayardit as a co-chair of the steering committee of National Dialogue.