South Sudanese Official Lauds Pope Francis for Peace Initiatives, Showing Love

Government officials during the Episcopal Ordination of Bishop Matthew Remijio Adam Gbitiku of Wau Diocese 24 January 2021

An official in South Sudan’s government has praised the affection of Pope Francis to people of God in the East-Central African nation manifested in his peace initiatives in the country.

Speaking on behalf of South Sudan’s President at the Episcopal Ordination of the Bishop of South Sudan’s Wau Diocese Sunday, January 24, the Presidential Advisor and Special Envoy Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin said, “His Holiness Pope Francis has shown love for the people of South Sudan.”

“In many years, the Catholic Church has been propagating and encouraging the government to bring peace in our country,” said Dr. Marial to thousands of Catholics who turned up to witness the Ordination of Bishop Mathew Remijo Adam at Mary Help of Christians Cathedral of Wau Diocese.

As the Presidential Advisor and Special Envoy who has been representing the government of South Sudan in Rome-mediated peace talks by a Catholic Lay organization, Sant’Egidio, Dr. Marial recognized with appreciation the backing of the Holy Father in the peace initiatives.

“We are now in talks with the holdout opposition and the person who is behind that is Pope Francis himself,” he said, and added, “We are now being engaged by a Catholic organization, an organization of Catholic communities with presence in 70 countries around the world.”


Expressing optimism in the Rome-mediated peace talks, the government official said, “The talks between holdout opposition and the government is going on well. Together with those of General Thomas Chirilo, Pagun Amum, Paul Malong and we are hopeful that someday we will achieve peace and build our nation.”

The politician who previously served as South Sudan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs said Sant’Egidio efforts are “inspired by what Pope Francis has done to our leaders.”

He said the Rome mission for peace in South Sudan would succeed since the Catholic Organization “has mediated over 18 countries throughout the world and has succeeded to resolve them peacefully.”

“This is a Catholic Church peace initiative. Definitely, they will succeed to bring peace to South Sudan,” said Dr. Marial, adding, “We know that the Catholic Church is for peace and our president is pushing hard that no more return to war.”

The government official noted that the relationship between the Catholic Church and the government of South Sudan has been cordial, adding that the two parties have been complementing each other in the relationship.

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“We must congratulate the Catholic Church for establishing the good working relations that we see today and we would like to encourage the Catholic Church to promote the good image,” he said and added, “I have worked in the ministry of foreign affairs and I have found that the role of the Church in diplomacy is very important.”

According to Dr. Marial, the Church is not only a place for worship but also an institution of love, unity, social harmony and above all a place where people come to discover their identity.

As a show of gratitude, the presidential advisor and envoy announced the President’s pledge of a new vehicle to the new Bishop.

He said, “Our president Salva Kiir Mayardit thought it would be appropriate to help, so that our new Bishop can move around all these parts of the Diocese of over 51,000 square miles.”

“He must go to every Parish; he has got to visit his people and for that reason your president has said he is going to contribute a good vehicle for his mobility to places,” he said and added, “We would like our Bishop to know that this territory with nearly four million Catholics needs the Bishop to exert his effort so that he brings the most important thing we need as South Sudanese.”


“The new Bishop will have a great responsibility in this Church; to plant love where there is hatred, preach forgiveness where there is conflict, express hope where there is despair and above all plant peace where there is war,” Dr. Marial said

He noted that President Kiir is “a true supporter of Catholic values of love, unity, compassion, forgiveness, reconciliation, and ideals for humanity such as the act of charity and care for the poor and the vulnerable.”

“We would like to see the Church teaching our Children good morals and Christian values so that they keep away from bad things,” said Dr. Marial on the sidelines of the Episcopal Ordination of Mathew Remijo as Bishop of Wau on January 24.