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Southern Africa Church to celebrate St. Bakhita Day

Vatican Radio || By Fr. Paul Samasumo || 27 January 2017

sacbc to celebrate bakhita day 2017The Apostolic Nuncio to South Africa says he is happy the Bishops of Southern Africa have proclaimed special activities to mark the feast of St. Bakhita.

The Church in South Africa plans to celebrate Saint Bakhita Day with prayer and reflection on 8 February; a marching parade and Interfaith Service on 9 February. This is according to information made available by the Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference (SACBC). The marching and interfaith celebrations are meant to raise awareness about the serious problem of Human Trafficking in Africa.

Organisers have planned for marchers to gather in Pretoria at 229 Jorissen Street in the Sunnyside area on 9 February. The marching parade will then proceed to Pretoria's Sacred Heart Cathedral situated at the corner of Bosman and Nana Sita streets in the Central Business District (CBD).

According to the SABC website, “Saints are the icons of faith.  They inspire us to live life beyond the obvious in serving God in His Vineyard. St Josephine Bakhita is one of our own who persevered the injustices imposed by humanity to become the victor of faith.”

8 February is the actual feast day of St. Bakhita. Activities are also planned in various dioceses.

St. Josephine Bakhita was born in Sudan’s embattled Darfur region in 1868. Captured at the age of 9 years, she was sold into slavery, first in her country and later to Italy. After life as a slave, she eventually became a Canossian religious sister in Italy and worked for 45 years. She died in 1947.

In the year 2000, she was declared a saint by Pope St. John Paul II.  Saint Bakhita is the patron saint of Sudan but is now also promoted as a patron saint of victims of slavery and trafficked persons.

According to SABC, Saint Bakhita has become the patron for those who suffer in the same way she suffered. 

“Let us celebrate the Day of St Josephine Bakhita with honour, praying for our brothers and sisters who find themselves under the barbaric experience of being trafficked and all the victims of Human Trafficking, and mostly let us pray for an end to Human Trafficking, especially by also praying for the conversion of the agents of this terrible practice,” say the Bishops’ Conference of South Africa.

Addressing the Bishops of Southern Africa, this week, during the opening session of their Plenary, the Apostolic Nuncio to Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland, Archbishop Peter Wells, told them that he was pleased the SACBC planned to celebrate the feast day of St Josephine Bakhita with prayer and fasting.

“When we talk about those who are suffering, I am happy to note that the SACBC has proclaimed the feast day of St Josephine Bakhita on February 8 as a day of prayer and reflection on the continuing scourge of the abuse of women and children, particularly with regard to human trafficking. I think it is timely that we refer to this topic,” the Apostolic Nuncio said.

Source: Vatican Radio…

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