Bishop Macram Max Gassis
Born in Khartoum, Sudan in 1938, Bishop Makram received his early education from the Comboni Missionaries before attending seminary in Italy. He was ordained a priest on June 28, 1964 in Verona, Italy.
Bishop Macram returned to his home diocese of El Obeid in 1965, and served as assistant parish priest in Wad Medani, expanding the work of the church and establishing new parishes throughout the region. He served as a chaplain at the University of Khartoum, and also earned a degree in canon law from the Catholic University of America. By 1983, the bishop had been appointed Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of El Obeid, and was ultimately appointed Bishop of El Obeid on March 12, 1988.
A former Nobel Peace Prize nominee, Bishop Macram testified before the U.S. Congress in 1988 about the human rights abuses committed by the Sudanese government against the innocent people of his country, including enslavement, air raids, forced starvation, and rape at the hands of the government's army. Following this testimony, the Sudanese government brought criminal charges against him, and for years he was forced to sneak in and out of his country for security reasons.
Bishop Gassis continues to travel the world from his headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, serving as the voice of the people of the Nuba Mountains and South Sudan, and raising funds to build schools, hospitals, roads and wells.