On July 7, the Vatican Secretary of State presided over Holy Mass at Dr. John Garang Mausoleum, a memorial dedicated to the leader of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) and first Vice President of Sudan following the 2005 peace agreement.
In his homily, Cardinal Parolin cautioned against hatred, injustice, and violence, saying, “Now it’s the time of responsibility and concrete actions. It’s the time to turn down the world of hatred, to break the yoke of every injustice in the country soaked by blood and violence.”
On the last day of his visit to South Sudan, the Vatican Secretary urged Major Seminarians in the South Sudan to take advantage of their years of Seminary formation, emphasizing, “This is my suggestion, it’s my advice; it is my counsel to you. Take advantage of this time of your formation because it will not come back.”
He also blessed the foundation stone of the new Apostolic Nunciature in Juba.
Cardinal Parolin later visited the Catholic University of South Sudan (CUofSS) as well as the Usratuna rehabilitation center in Juba, a place where people belonging to different religions collaborate for the integration of disabled children and the training of their families.
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In their July 8 signed by SCBC President, Bishop Yunan Tombe Trille, Catholic Bishops in Sudan and South Sudan also reflect on the 11th anniversary of the Independence of South Sudan marked on July 9.
“We cannot forget to thank God for the gift of our young nation the Republic of South Sudan as we celebrate its 11 Birthday of Independence,” they say, and continue, “The Republic of South Sudan exists because of the people called South Sudanese otherwise it could just be one of the forests in the heart of Africa.”
SCBC members further say, “Eleven years is a reasonable number of years to count the progress of a child who has parents.”
“It is time for us as South Sudanese to rise above our differences and put our country in order and its citizens to experience the dignity of living as we deserve,” they further say, and add, “It is a collective responsibility which we must carry according to the gospel values.”
Making reference to the homily of Cardinal Parolin during the July 7 Holy Mass, SCBC members say, “Jesus asks us to be different to be signs that run counter to the way of a world torn by hatred and by violence.”
They express their concern “about the political turmoil in Sudan which is dragging on for more than a year.”
“The economic situation is biting and life is hard for the people,” Catholic Bishops in Sudan and South Sudan say in reference to the protracted conflict in Sudan.
They appeal to the international community, saying, “We call on all people who shoulder the responsibility of promoting peace in the United Nations and the like-minded organizations to pay attention and come to the aid of the Sudanese people.”
SCBC members assure the people of God in Sudan their spiritual solidarity. They say, “We carry you in our hearts and assure you of our prayers so that justice, peace and development come to Sudan and South Sudan.”
Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.