Father Robert tells an incredible story and gives us insight into what the West can learn from African ways. He spoke at our college recently and his talk was very well received. Here are some of my favorite quotes/paraphrases that Father gave that can give us perspective: “For an African, a good day is measured not by how much work a person got done, but by the people he met, the conversations and relationships he fostered that day. Restorative Justice brings the person back into the community. It involves elders, the tasting of bitter herbs and in the end, a big celebration. For an African, when bad things happen, we do not let these things define us. We use them to grow and build on our strengths and our love for others. We do not put people in jail for years and years to come – this does not benefit the victim. It does not give them peace. “I learned to be a shepherd by suffering with my people.” There are many heroes in a time of war. They are the husbands and wives, the mothers... More > and the fathers who put themselves at risk every day in order to protect and provide for their families. They do it for love. Father Robert has given his life to helping others. He is a pastor, a teacher, and a friend to all. This book gives insight into his story and into the story of so many others who are invisible because of their poverty.< Less
Fr. Obol's book is a beautiful testimony to the power of faith in the midst of danger and uncertainty. His story reflects an image of a devoted priest growing in his own faith as he journeyed in solidarity with his people. Fr. Robert's near encounter with death gave him a renewed appreciation for life. It is a story of courage, commitment and hope and well worth reading.
Fr. Obol’s book is a treasury of reflections on the important role of Pastoral Ministry for a suffering Church and society. It celebrates the faith of a people drawn into the horrible circumstances of poverty, political confusion, war and oppression. It is the faith of the people supported by clear, consistent, and prayerful leadership which sustained the challenged community, both secular and ecclesial. The stories in each chapter celebrate the joy and hope of these Catholic Christians which could not be smothered by the dire circumstances of their lives, but which rather nourished and strengthened this people who were starving for a vision that could see beyond it all. The faith and love and hope offered by the Church and its ministers with labored steps led them through and guides them still.
Faith brings joy to one’s life; faith often provides solace in times of sorrow. Faith can deepen one’s resilience to change and disaster. In this book you will discover how faith is sometimes all that people have in their possession in a warzone. I remember meeting Father Dr. Robert Obol on the campus of Walsh University in North Canton, Ohio, as a new priest student from the Archdiocese of Gulu, Uganda. The stories he tells are about the work of the Church in a war torn area; he focuses especially on the work of Catholic parish ministers and Caritas staff (in the US, we are called Catholic Charities), always willing to help and heal, even in the midst of struggle and pain. Obol provides a very rich, detailed and engaged description and analysis of his work as a parish priest in a country and region beset with war and violence. Obol discusses his work with various Caritas social workers as they engage young people who oftentimes found themselves in non-voluntary military or... More > paramilitary service. He discusses and analyzes his own reactions -- fears, doubts, sadness, joy -- in his work as a parish minister during some incredibly difficult times. One night in January 2003, rebels attacked and ransacked his community and parish center. Obol faithfully chronicles that horrible day of death and destruction through a first person account, acknowledging his own thought processes, fears, actions and hopes. He tells stories of great courage and simple acts of love and compassion that occurred on all sides. He tells of Caritas social workers who kept their ministry going despite such difficulties. Obol reflects on how important the structures and institutions of the Catholic Church remain in the midst of crisis and reconstruction. He acknowledges the power and faith of the Church and how its ministers bear witness to hope, love, compassion, service and forgiveness. If you are looking for something to read during this Year of Faith, as declared by Pope Benedict XVI, then this book is for you. Obol provides a critical first hand account of being a witness of the faith in situations of war and civil strife. Stories of pastoral ministers, Caritas social workers, lay Church leaders and others provide a glimpse into the power of the Church -- and the faith of its adherents -- in being an institution that provides hope and help. Obol’s memoir provides us with important stories of resiliency and courage during strife and after the violence ends.< Less
Great read and I recommend it for all who became interested and caught up in the Kony internet hype. This is a true story from someone who was actualluy there and lived through the struggles and fear that gripped his homeland and in particular his own parish. Life was so uncertain, one never knew if they would see another day, but the determination to survive is inspiring.
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