IDPs’ Message During Ecumenical Visit to South Sudan to “be delivered by a child”: Priest

Gumbo Camp in South Sudan. Credit: Courtesy Photo

The message of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) during the scheduled ecumenical visit at a camp in South Sudan’s capital, Juba, will be given by a child at the facility, a Catholic Priest involved in the preparations of the visit said in an interview.

In the interview with City Review Juba that was reported May 31, the General Coordinator for the Pope’s Visit to South Sudan also said that Pope Francis is expected to deliver a message that will bring consolation to IDPs in South Sudan.

“We have arranged that the message of the IDPs be delivered by a child because the Pope is always known to be very close to children,” Fr. Samuel Abe said.

On his part, Fr. Abe said, Pope Francis’ message “will highlight the plights of the IDPs.”

The South Sudanese Catholic Priest further said in reference to Pope Francis, “He will deliver a message of hope to them (IDPs), that they are not abandoned and that (their) situation will one day improve and they will go back to their homes.”


The Holy Father’s two-African-nation pastoral trip has been scheduled to begin in the capital city of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Kinshasa on July 2, and conclude on July 7 in South Sudan’s capital city, Juba.

In the program published May 28, Vatican officials said that during the second leg of Pope Francis’ 37th Apostolic Visit abroad that he is to undertake with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and the Moderator of the Church of Scotland, Jim Wallace, the three church leaders are to visit IDPs at their camp in Juba on July 6.

Speaking about the plans for the encounter between Pope Francis and the IDPs during the ecumenical visit, Fr. Abe has been quoted as saying, “We wanted to have him meet IDPs outside the camp, but he insisted that he want to go there and see for himself what the people are going through.” 

When realized, the July 2-7 pastoral trip to the two African countries will mark Pope Francis’ third visit to sub-Saharan Africa. 

The journey will be the first-ever Papal visit to South Sudan and the third Papal trip to DRC, which is home to Africa's largest Catholic population.

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Patrick Juma Wani is a South Sudanese journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. Patrick holds a Diploma in Journalism and Mass Communication from Makerere Institute for Social Development (MISD) in Uganda. He has over 7 years of extensive experience in leading the development and implementation of media, advocacy, communication and multimedia strategy and operations, with an excellent track record of editorial leadership, budget management, and stakeholder outreach. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.