Dear Friend of the Missions,
His first function as an ordained priest in South Sudan was to assist at the funeral Mass of 14 teenagers killed in civil war.
Like the 2 million orphans in his country, violence has been Father Onesimo Keneyi Joseph Venansio’s constant companion. As a seven-year-old in 1984, his village was besieged for months during the second Sudanese war.
One man brought hope to the village: Father Michael Barton, a missionary from the Archdiocese of Indianapolis who provided the villagers with food for the body – and soul. He also transformed the life of young Onesimo, inspiring his priestly vocation.
Now, Father Venansio is one of just 180 priests who struggle to bring peace, dignity, and hope to the 11 million souls in South Sudan who face war, extreme poverty, and high HIV/AIDS rates.
The Society for the Propagation of the Faith funds the ministries of priests and religious, like Father Venansio, who currently studies civil and canon law at the Missionary College in Rome. The College cultivates the hearts and minds of those whose vocations will face unimaginable challenges.
Father’s absence is an incredible sacrifice to his diocese, where the priests receive no salary. Father Venansio asked me to share with you:
“There is a dire need for highly educated people in my country, which is why I am here, though my heart, and my thoughts, are always in my home, with my people.”
The funds needed by the Society for the Propagation of the Faith to support missionaries in places where the Church is young and struggling come from loving Catholics like you.
This Lent, your support will help missionaries not only survive but thrive in their ministries. Perhaps you can offer a sacrifice of – $5 for each of the 40 days of Lent – $200 will make a life-saving difference for many who suffer in the world. As we journey together towards Easter, know that a gift of any size in the hands of missionaries will bring the hope-filled faith in Jesus Christ to those most in need of it.
Thank you for your prayerful consideration.
-Reverend Monsignor Terrance Fleming, Lent 2023