The Catholic Diocese of Tombura-Yambio (CDTY) is located in Western Equatoria State (WES) in South Sudan. The diocese covers 7 counties within the state including:
The diocese comprises of 16 parishes which are grouped into the Western, Eastern and Central Deaneries. Over 1,000,000 people in the state are Catholic, which constitutes over 60% of the population. The region is very ethnically and culturally rich and diverse. The majority of the population is Azande with smaller numbers of Balanda, Baka, Mundu, Muru, Avukaya, and others. The CDTY has a team of 35 priests, 400 catechists and teams of employed lay persons.
Catholic faith first entered into Zandeland in 1912 from Wau, the then Apostolic Vicariate of Bahr el Ghazal. Mupoi parish was the first mission building to be erected. The Comboni Missionaries inspired rapid expansion of Catholic faith in the region and it was finally named as the ‘Apostolic Prefecture of Mupoi’ in 1949 under the leadership of Msgr. Dominic Ferrar.
The Missionary Act of 1962 prohibited the movement and activities of missionaries in South Sudan. In 1965, the Anyanya I, or South Sudan Liberation Movement broke out, and many of the clergy and affiliates sought refuge in Central Africa Republic (CAR) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The church's infrastructed was destroyed during this period as all assets were looted and/or destroyed. This was the first civil war of Sudan.
The first civil war ended in 1972 following the Addis Ababa Agreement. The clergy returned to the diocese, and in 1974, the Mupoi Prefecture became Tombura Diocese under the leadership of Rt. Rev. Joseph Gasi Abangite as its first Diocesan Bishop.
In 1985, the Seat of the Bishop was transferred to Yambio as it became the Provincial headquarters of the then named Western Equatoria Province. Accordingly, the Diocese changed its name to the Catholic Diocese of Tombura-Yambio.
In 1983, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army/Movement (SPLA/M) launched another armed rebellion against the Khartoum government. The SPLA/M took control of WES, including Yambio, in 1990. Much of the population, including the clergy, were once again forced to seek refuge in CAR and the DRC. Priests started returning to WES in 1992 and immediately began to rebuild and rehabilitate their pastoral and social programmes.
On the 9th of January 2005, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was signed in Nairobi, Kenya. The formal end to the conflict between the SPLA/M and Khartoum Government ushered a new opportunity for the diocese to increase its activities in reconstructing its dilapidated structures and programmes according to the needs of the people of WES.
On 19th April 2008, the Holy Father, H.H. Pope Benedict XVI appointed Rt. Rev. Eduard Hiiboro Kussala to succeed bishop Joseph Gasi Abangite as bishop of Tombura-Yambio Diocese.
Under new leadership, the CDTY reviewed its strategic priorities and structure through a formal review process. The CDTY now operates under the guidance of the 2011-2015 Strategic Plan as it continuously strives improve its practices, deepen its impact and widen the reach of its programmes.