Planned Ecumenical Trip Time to Reflect “peace, stability”: South Sudanese Archbishop

Credit: CRN

The planned ecumenical visit to South Sudan to be undertaken by Pope Francis, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and the Moderator of the Church of Scotland, Iain Greenshields in February 2023 provides an opportunity to reflect on “peace and stability,” the Catholic Archbishop in the country has said.

On Thursday, December 1, officials of the Holy See Press Office announced that Pope Francis is set to realize his postponed trip to two African countries early next year. They also unveiled the program and itinerary of the “Apostolic Journey of His Holiness Francis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and in South Sudan (Ecumenical Pilgrimage of Peace in South Sudan) from 31 January to 5 February 2023.”

Addressing journalists in Juba following the publication of the itinerary and program for the two-African-nation trip, Archbishop Stephen Ameyu said, “The visit of the Holy Father and his colleagues is important for the people of South Sudan to think about peace and stability.”

“It's a moment for our people to know and be ready to eventually have peace through the visit of these religious leaders,” the Local Ordinary of Juba Archdiocese emphasized. 

He added, “We should pray that the visit is successful because this is what our Christian communities have been waiting for since the Holy Father announced his intention to visit.”


Since the Ecumenical visit will be realized in South Sudan’s capital city, Juba, Archbishop Ameyu said the people of God from the different South Sudanese States “will still participate in the event because they will be coming to Juba.”

“Nobody should be left out of this important event,” the Local Ordinary of South Sudan’s only Metropolitan See said, and added in reference to the country’s weather pattern in February, “We will try to mobilize our people to come together in Juba because during the dry season it will be easier for pilgrims to come to Juba.”

The 58-year-old South Sudanese Archbishop told journalists in Juba during the December 1 press conference that pilgrims to the Ecumenical visit will “come and share with the Holy Father their issues for God to help them.”

He called on the relevant South Sudanese authorities to support the traveling of pilgrims from across the East-Central African nation, saying, “I hope the government will facilitate the movement of the people, especially in terms of security.”

He implored, “We pray for the Holy Spirit to be at work throughout and after this visit, bringing the peace promised by Christ,” the South Sudanese Catholic Church leader implored.

More in Africa

Speaking at the same event, the Presidential Affairs Minister, Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin, expressed optimism in the country’s peace process as a result of the Papal Ecumenical visit. 

“This ecumenical visit will strengthen the peace process and encourage the citizens that they have friends who care about them,” Dr. Marial said, and added, “We are all happy because South Sudan needs friendships to overcome the challenges it’s going through.”

The South Sudanese government official further said, “The visit demonstrates the church leadership's commitment to ending the crisis and how peace can be embraced by anyone, including oppositions and those in the bush, on how to live in peace and reconciliation.”

“We need support, especially supporting peace, humanitarian issues, and spiritual strength,” Dr. Marial emphasized.

He assured citizens planning to participate in the ecumenical visit in person that “all the necessary arrangements will be made before the Pope and his colleagues arrive.”


If realized, Pope Francis will become the first Pope to visit South Sudan, the world’s newest nation that gained independence from the Republic of the Sudan on 9 July 2011.