Darfur bishop to highlight plight of his homeland

A Catholic bishop from the war-torn Darfur region in Africa is visiting Ireland this week to raise awareness of the plight of his people.

A Catholic bishop from the war-torn Darfur region in Africa is visiting Ireland this week to raise awareness of the plight of his people.

Bishop Macram Gassis of the Diocese of El Obeid in Sudan wants to appeal for more Irish aid workers to help with the reconstruction of Sudan.

The senior cleric was invited to Ireland by the the Irish Missionary Union (IMU).

At least 200,000 people have died in Darfur and two million others have fled their homes since the Sudanese government began quelling a revolt by ethnic minorities in 2003.

It was announced last month that the Irish Government is sending 350 peace keeping troops to neighbouring countries of the Central African Republic and Chad.

Six Irish missionary organisations are currently working in Sudan including the Christian Brothers, Mill Hill Missionaries, Good Shepherd Sisters, Loreto Sisters, St Patrick’s Missionary Society and Viatores Christi.

Bishop Gassis’ itinerary includes events in Dublin and Cork and will he celebrate Mass in Rathfarnham in Dublin this weekend to mark Mission Sunday.

“His visit will remind all Irish people of the suffering in Darfur and the great service rendered by missionaries in so many troubled spots of the world.” said Sr Miriam Duggan, president of the Irish Missionary Union.

“The presence of Bishop Gassis, is a concrete reminder to all of us of how fortunate we are here in Ireland and of our responsibility to respond to the situation in Sudan”.

Mission Sunday marks the 2,183 Irish-born missionaries still serving in 84 different countries across the world.

The bishop, 69, who was born in Khartoum and educated in Britain, travels extensively to raise awareness of the human rights situation in his diocese and in Sudan.

As part of his itinerary, he will also address students at Cork Institute of Technology and the Milltown Institute in Dublin.

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