July 20, 2015
Amarillo—Pastoral Council members at St. Joseph’s Church, along with all the pastoral leadership with representatives of all the communities within the parish have agreed to adopt St. Mary’s Parish in Panreing, Sudan as a “sister parish.” The action took place during a June 28 meeting.
“After having been there and personally experienced the Dinka communities deep faith in Christ and their love for the Church, I can’t help but feel excited about this important step St. Joseph’s is taking toward becoming a true Evangelizing Parish,” said Father Hector J. Madrigal, pastor of St. Joseph’s Church. “Our parish Mission calls us to ‘welcome all God’s children and Make Disciples.’ Inspired by Pope Francis’ call to go the peripheries, St. Joseph’s parishioners recognizes its call to be missionary disciples and accept the call to walk closely with the Sudanese community in our parish. Their families back home are an important part of their lives and thus are an important part of the life of St. Joseph’s in Amarillo.
“As we work toward fulfilling our mission of making disciples, we will do what we can to accompany St. Mary’s parish in that same call that unites as brothers and sisters. We look forward to walking together with St. Mary’s parishioners in Panreing.”
Father Madrigal said St. Joseph’s hopes to do this by sponsoring a seminarian in his study of the English Language to prepare him for seminary studies and by inviting a Sudanese priest to accompany the Sudanese community at St. Joseph’s for a few months to develop some local leadership.
“The parishioners were moved by the statement of one of the Sudanese parishioners when he stated, ‘my daughter is excited to know that there is possibility of inviting a Sundanese priest to accompany our community in Amarillo, Texas,’” he added. “She was excited to know that there are priests that speak her language and understand her culture.”
Father Madrigal stated that in addition to providing spiritual and pastoral leadership at St. Joseph’s and at St. Mary’s in South Sudan, his parishioners are committed to provide the financial resources needed to build a rectory to provide a safe home for a priest to stay in the community for longer periods of time.
“Since St. Mary’s is in the middle of the war zone it is not safe for the priests to stay in an unsafe ‘mud hut.’ For this reason the priest celebrates Mass at St Mary’s once every three or four months. A new safe rectory with brick walls, real windows and a metal roof will enable the priest to celebrate Mass more often and stay in the parish for longer periods of time,” Father Madrigal said.
St. Joseph’s will also begin to research the possibility of providing safe clean drinking water for the St. Mary’s community.
“This is a long term goal because much research needs to take place to understand what contaminants are in the water and what is required to purify the water,” stated Father Madrigal. “It might also include transportation of the water closer to the center of the homes in St. Mary’s Parish.”