by Thomas Tiscornia
In 1976 the Maryknoll Society established a Society Unit in Sudan sending Bill Knipe, John Conway and Tom Mantica to set up a National Pastoral Liturgical Catechetical Center, along with two Maryknoll Sisters, in Juba. In April 1978, Tom Mantica died in a small plane accident near Malakal. After Tom’s death, the group was joined by Tom Keefe.
In late 1978 Joe Glynn joined the Unit and worked with the Archdiocese of Juba. The Unit was terminated in 1981 and Bill Knipe went to teach in the Comboni School in the Diocese of El Obeid for several years. Joe Glynn remained in Juba until 1982. During the years 1982 to 1984, Jack Quinn also lived in Juba while he was working with the Apostles of Jesus in vocation and formation work.
In 1987 the two regions of Africa (Kenya and Tanzania) responded to the AMECEA appeal for assistance to the church in Sudan by sending five members (Flynn, Knipe, Morris, Breen and Tiscornia) to work in the diocese of El Obeid. These men assisted the diocese in pastoral, seminary, administration and language school positions. By 1995 we no longer had any members there.
Again in 1998 at the invitation of the Bishop, Tom Tiscornia returned to do pastoral ministry in the liberated area of the diocese of El Obeid. He iserved in the area of the Nuba Mountains. Ken Thesing responded to the plight of refugees in southern Sudan as director of Catholic relief efforts and assistance. Today Ken and Tom have moved on, but Maryknoll’s presence continues through the efforts of Frs. John Barth and Jim Noonan.