Saturday, December 15, 2018
Fr Peter Magalasi, son Baripi and Anyongo, was born at Diayanga (Maringindo – Western Equatoria) on December 31, 1929. He passed away on December 8, 2018, in Lacor (Gulu – Uganda) aged 89.
He was baptised by Fr Arrighi at the age of eleven at Raffili, Bahr-el-Gahazal, on December 8, 1940, and confirmed the following year by Msgr Rodolfo Orler on April 20, 1941. He felt the call to be a priest and entered the seminary: minor seminary, then philosophy and theology. He was already in second theology when he expressed the desire to become a Comboni Missionary. Fr Longino Urbani, the rector of Sacred Heart Seminary in Gulu, supported him saying that his missionary desire was genuine. Fr Luigi Parisi, his parish priest, wrote a positive recommendation: “I know Pietro Magalasi; he has always made a favourable impression to all of us missionaries. We pray that the Sacred Heart of Jesus will guide him in his vocational and missionary journey”. Msgr Domenico Ferrara, Prefect Apostolic of Mupoi, presented him to the Comboni missionaries and he was admitted to the novitiate in Florence (Italy). He made his first profession on September 9, 1956. Then he completed his theology and was ordained a priest on July 7, 1957, in Verona. After ordination he was sent to Rome to study Canon Law at the Urbaniana University.
After completing his studies and making his perpetual vows on September 9, 1959, he returned to South Sudan. From July 1960 to June 1962, he was a teacher in St Paul Major Seminary of Tore River. Later he moved to Mboro near Wau as the assistant parish priest, and one year later, in 1963, he became parish priest of Wau. Those were difficult years for the Church in South Sudan. In 1964 all the foreign missionaries were expelled. The seminary of Tore was closed and moved to Kit with Fr Urasi rector, and Fr Magalasi teacher and spiritual director. They stayed in Kit only a short period. In 1965, priests and seminarians escaped to Uganda and continued their formation there. Fr Magalasi continued his commitment as a teacher and liked to be pastorally involved on weekends.
In 1971 Fr Magalasi was assigned to the Ethiopian province and worked in the parish of Fullasa, Ethiopia, where he was also a teacher. He remained there till 1973. In 1972 the signing of the Addis Abeba Peace Agreement gave the chance to the Church in South Sudan of resuming its work with new dynamism. So in 1973, Fr Magalasi went back to South Sudan. He was first in Rejaf and Kit, serving also as spiritual director of the Brothers of St Martin De Porres. In June 1980 he was assigned to Rumbek and worked tirelessly within the Cathedral community. He also visited chapels as far as Cueibet and Bargheil. Meanwhile the second civil war had started, and the Church personnel had a lot to suffer. In 1984 near Tonj, the car in which Fr Magalasi was travelling was attacked. The father was stopped and robbed. After that incident, he decided to leave Rumbek and move to Maringindo, his home area. He settled in Nagero and offered pastoral care to the local population. In 1986 he was assigned to the community of Lomin in Kajokeji. There he remained until 1987 when the community was closed because of insecurity.
In July 1988, the superiors proposed to Fr Magalasi a period of ministry in Italy working in the field of mission animation. He could rest a bit, and recover from the traumas encountered during the years past. It was during these years that he matured a particular devotion for blessed Clementine Anuarite, a Congolese Martyr. In 1991 the Superiors assigned him to Congo, and there he remained for 16 years, working in three different parishes: Ango, Bambilo and Duru. While in Duru, the mission was attacked by LRA militia on September 17, 2008. The missionaries had to run for their life together with the faithful. They escaped to South Sudan.
After some time in Yambio, Fr Magalasi joined the community of the postulancy in Layibi (Uganda) helping in the formation of the candidates for brotherhood. As from June 2013, he spent about one year with the retired Bishop Joseph Gazi Abangite in Yambio. But his health deteriorated and he was brought to Lacor, in the community attached to the hospital. There he spent the last years of his life. The Lord called him on December 8, 2018.
May he rest in peace. Amen.