Bruna Maloal, a 63-year old Roman Catholic catechist, stands in the ruined sanctuary of the Our Lady of the Annunciation parish in Abyei, a town at the center of the contested Abyei region along the border between Sudan and South Sudan. The church building, along with adjoining residences, educational facilities and a warehouse for relief supplies, were damaged and looted in 2011 when soldiers and militias from the northern Republic of Sudan swept through the area, chasing out Maloal and tens of thousands of others. Maloal and a handful of other residents returned to the town in 2012 after northern combatants withdrew. Although Ethiopian peacekeepers patrol the region, renewed attacks by northern-backed Misseriya militias in 2013 have Maloal and others worried. The African Union has proposed a new peace plan, including a referendum to be held in October 2013, but it has been rejected by the Misseriya and Khartoum. The Catholic parish of Abyei, with support from Caritas South Sudan and other international church partners, has maintained its pastoral presence among the displaced and assisted them with food, shelter, and other relief supplies. Yet the parish priests have not officially returned to Abyei, remaining with most Abyei residents in Agok, some 25 kilometers to the south. Every Sunday a priest comes to celebrate Mass in Abyei, with church members gathering under a tree outside the desecrated sanctuary.