JUBA, South Sudan
South Sudan is optimistic that the upcoming papal visit to help galvanize various communities toward peaceful co-existence in the country, a senior official has said.
“We are hopeful that South Sudan will be in peace and harmony and that we will benefit and be blessed by the three religious leaders,” Michael Makuei Lueth, the Minister of Information, Communication, Technology and Postal Services, told Anadolu.
“The coming of the Pope is a historical event and it had never happened in the world that the three churches come together except when President Kiir and Dr. Machar and the rest went to the Vatican,” he added.
Malak Marial, a resident of the Capital, Juba, hopes that Pope Francis’s visit to South Sudan’s capital next month will inspire political leaders to finally restore peace and stability, allowing them to stay peaceful.
He said that the coming of the Pope would bring peace and stability to South Sudan.
“The way our government has been cleaning the city and renovating roads brought hope to us that this time they will accept each other and bring peace and stability.”
He said that the activities taking place in Juba shows that Pope Francis is coming with total peace and stability.
Mary Nyoka said that Pope coming is a sense of peace by itself and told the leaders to honor Pope and put aside all their differences.
“I want the pope to tell our leaders to understand the suffering we are going through and show their commitment to total peace in the country.”
On Feb. 3, Pope Francis will arrive in Juba from the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) accompanied by the Head of the Episcopal Church of Canterbury, Justin Portal Welby, and the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, Rt Rev Dr. Iain Greenshields.
The government has declared Feb. 3 a public holiday to honor the visit of Pope Francis, who will be jetting into the country for a three-day tour.
In April 2019, President Salva Kiir and First Vice President Riek Machar attended the Vatican retreat in Rome hosted by Pope Francis. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Portal Welby, and Rt Rev Dr. Iain Greenshields, the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, were also present.
The retreat aimed at convincing the two once rival leaders to end their political rivalry and implement the 2018 revitalized peace deal to end the brutal conflict that broke out in December 2013.
The Archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Juba, Bishop Stephen AmeyuMullaand the Archbishop of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan, Justin Badi Arama, plus other Religious Leaders are expected to greet Pope Francis during his arrival in the capital Juba.
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