Priests in South Sudan greet Pope Francis

Pope Francis celebrated Mass for more than 100,000 people in Juba, South Sudan.

Fr Gregor Schmidt

Fr. Gregor Schmidt, mccj

Fr. Gregor Schmidt, mccj, is a Comboni Missionary who has been working in South Sudan for twelve years.

By: Fr. Gregor Schmidt, mccj

From February 3–5, Pope Francis made a historic visit to Juba, the capital of South Sudan, to promote reconciliation and peace in the war-torn country. The pope’s visit held significant meaning for the people of South Sudan, who were eager to receive his message of hope and solidarity.

The pope’s visit was not limited to the Catholic community; it also had an ecumenical dimension. Alongside the pope, the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and the moderator of the General Council of Presbyterians from Scotland, Iain Greenshields, participated in various events. The presence of these three leaders from the largest Christian denominations in South Sudan underscored the importance of unity and collaboration in achieving sustainable reconciliation.

During the visit, Pope Francis met with leading politicians, urging them to prioritize the well-being of the population and address the challenges facing the country. Ecumenical prayers and meetings with displaced individuals further emphasized the need for collective efforts in achieving lasting peace.

With approximately two million South Sudanese internally displaced and two  million seeking refuge in neighboring countries, the involvement of all churches, particularly the South Sudan Council of Churches, was recognized as crucial.

The highlight of the visit was the celebration of Sunday Mass, which drew over 100,000 Catholics. The pope’s presence and message of peace left a lasting impact on the faithful, fostering hope for a brighter future.

Pope Francis’s visit to South Sudan was a momentous occasion, demonstrating the global commitment to supporting the country’s path toward reconciliation and peace. The Comboni Missionaries, in solidarity with the Pope’s concern for South Sudan and Africa, urge continued prayers for the nation’s well-being and the success of ongoing efforts for peace.

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