Sr. Jecinter Antoinette Okoth, FSSA
Days after he was shot by gunmen at the priests residence in Rumbek, South Sudan the midnight of Monday, April 26, Monsignor Christian Carlassare has expressed the need to look beyond the shooting and seek for truth about the matter.
“I don’t want to speak much about what has happened, we have to look beyond it, look for the truth and find healing for the community of Rumbek,” Msg. Carlassare said in an interview with AMECEA online while nursing gunshot wounds in both his legs in Nairobi, Kenya ,where he was flown for treatment after the Monday incident.
“I am in pain but I am sure my wounds will heal soon. The wounds which really need deep care are those for Rumbek community,” Bishop-elect highlighted adding, “As much as I am receiving care here, we must care for the wounds of Rumbek people and the people who are suffering the violence that is present there.
He called on the people of God to come together and start the treatment for Rumbek community so that all can be one in Christ.
Asked about his sentiments towards the unknown people who shot him, Very Rev. Carlassare whose episcopal ordination and installation had been scheduled for Pentecost Sunday, May 23, said, “I am sorry for what they did. They are being manipulated, and nobody should do any evil while asked to do so.”
Narrating about the incident, Bishop-elect a member of the Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus (MCCJ) who was appointed by Pope Francis on Monday, March 8, said during the Wednesday, April 28, Interview that he found himself with two young men who were armed but he couldn’t recognize them.
“I have never met them before, I didn’t have any grudge against them and I think they didn’t have anything against me because I couldn’t have any time to do any evil to any one in Rumbek so I can’t really understand why that could happen. Really, I can’t tell what their intention was,” Msg. Carlasssare who has served in South Sudan’s Malakal Diocese for over ten years said and continued, “What is disturbing me is that their intention was not to steal, nor to kill but just to do this action to intimidate me.”
Meanwhile, the MCCJ General Council underscored that their confrere Msg. Carlassare has reassured members of the congregation that he is improving well and asked for prayers especially for the people of Rumbek who according to him “are suffering more than him.”
According to the message published on Monday, April 26, on the MCCJ website, Msg. Carlassare added that “he forgives his assailants.”
“We join the many persons of goodwill who are expressing their dismay at this umpteenth episode of violence against defenseless and innocent people,” the MCCJ leadership said and concluded, “Following the invitation of Mgr. Carlassare, let us pray for the many people of good will who, in South Sudan, suffer from the persistence of insecurity and violence. We also pray for his rapid recovery so as to allow him receive his episcopal ordination on the 23rd of May, as planned, and thus resume his apostolic ministry at the service of the Church and the people of South Sudan.”