My new mission at a parish in Riwoto - Maryknoll Lay Missioners
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Summer 2023 newsletter, Part 2


Gabe Hurrish, South Sudan

Sunday Mass at St. Mary Magdalen Parish in Riwoto, South Sudan

After two and a half years in Kuron Peace Village I have now relocated to a new mission site. I will be working in St. Mary Magdalen Parish in a place called Riwoto, near Kapoeta City in the South Sudanese Province of Eastern Equatoria. In fact, I have known of this site for some time as the priests and sisters often hosted me for retreats and breaks during my breaks from Kuron. Now I will be stationed here for at least the next three years.

St. Mary Magdalen Parish is counseled by two young Nigerian priests, Father Blessed and Father Emmanuel. They assumed their leadership roles when the long-serving and well respected and loved Father Tim Galvin of the St. Patrick Missionaries, unexpectedly passed away in February of this year.

Sister Mary, the head principal of the Riwoto nursery and primary school

Father Tim was a legend in these parts, and his presence will be sorely missed. However, the Spirit is strong in these young priests and I have very good rapport with them. Five young Ugandan sisters help run the nursery, primary and secondary schools. The parish is large and active, with a health clinic, tree planting, 12 small Christian communities, weekly religious classes, youth and adult groups, and many catechists.

The nursery has more than 500 little ones, ranging from 2 to 6 years old. The primary school has more than 1,000 students with 20 teachers. There is a huge demand for more students to enter, but, unfortunately, there is no more capacity.

I have begun teaching at the secondary school, which just opened in 2022. There are currently two grades: freshmen and sophomores. Each year another class will be added until the four years are full. I teach classes in computers and agriculture for the first- and second-year students. The school had no teachers for these two subjects, so the new guy gets them.

Additionally, I sort of stepped into the role of office supply manager, data manager and statistics manager of the schools. I am often approached by other teachers asking for help in organizing their data for the students. Many staff come to me with questions on using the computers and the programs. I am not an expert, but I can help where possible.

Another of my roles here is to assist the priests and sisters in the administration of the parish. There are more than 2,000 families in this parish with many programs such as catechesis, small Christian communities, youth groups, outreach and many others. Masses and other services are full of children who love to sing and respond to the prayers. The priests have hinted that I may be called on to assist with the day-to-day operations of the parish. We will see where the Spirit leads.

After the isolation of Kuron Peace Village, I feel like I am now living in luxury. Here a vehicle often travels to the main market in Kapoeta, which is a mere 35-minute drive. This place is much closer to hospitals, markets and roads and has an airstrip. Our internet connection is slow and I have to walk to the priests’ house to use it, but it is reliable. Cellphone coverage is excellent. So I am thankful to have landed in such a wonderful place.

I am also very thankful to all of you who continue to be a part of my mission, both through your prayers and your financial support. Your support is the reason I can serve these good Toposa people.

Maryknoll Lay Missioners has challenges with raising enough funds for the missioners all over the world, and this year will be crucial as they try to meet their ambitious goals and objectives for this year.

I am praying for all of you, my most generous and unselfish supporters, with grateful acknowledgment of your presence in mission.

Thank you so much!

With prayers,

Please consider joining our circle of COMPANIONS IN MISSION. Companions in Mission are generous donors, like you, who give financial gifts on a regular (usually monthly) basis. For more information visit  Become a Companion in MissionThank you so much for your generosity! 

Gabe Hurrish
Gabe Hurrish works in parish ministry at St. Mary Magdalen Parish in Riwoto in the South Sudanese state of Eastern Equatoria. He has served as a Maryknoll lay missioner in South Sudan since 2018.