Ecumenical Visit to South Sudan Set to Open “new chapter of hope, inspiration”: Nuncio

Archbishop Hubertus van Megen during the Episcopal Ordination of Bishop Emmanuel Bernardino Lowi Napeta of Torit Diocese on Sunday, 15 January 2023. Credit: Courtesy Photo

The representative of the Holy Father in South Sudan has said the planned ecumenical visit to the East-Central African nation is expected to open a “new chapter of hope and inspiration” for the people of God in the country. 

In his speech during the Episcopal Ordination of Bishop Emmanuel Bernardino Lowi Napeta of Torit Diocese on Sunday, January 15, Archbishop Hubertus van Megen said the realization of the previously postponed trip to two African countries that, in the case of South Sudan, is to be undertaken by Pope Francis, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and the Moderator of the Church of Scotland, Iain Greenshields early next month, could bring about lasting peace to the world’s youngest nation. 

The Holy Father will be coming in February and the visit will open a new chapter of hope and inspiration for the people of South Sudan,” Archbishop van Megen said in reference to the February 3-5 ecumenical visit to South Sudan.

According to the program and itinerary that the officials of the Holy See Press office unveiled on December 1, Pope Francis is set to realize his previously postponed trip to DRC and South Sudan from January 31 to February 5.

Like the itinerary in the postponed visit, the January 31 – February 5 two-African-nation trip is scheduled to begin in the capital city of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Kinshasa, and conclude in South Sudan’s capital city, Juba.


In his speech during the January 15 Episcopal Ordination event in Torit Diocese, the Apostolic Nuncio to South Sudan said, This country will have a new journey of hope because the Holy Father will be coming to give us courage.”

“We have to pray for the visit because it’s something we have been waiting for so long,” the Nairobi-based Vatican diplomat who also represents the Holy Father in Kenya said. 

He added, “This visit is to encourage, guide and lead us because the Holy Father is a very simple and humble man who will be meeting all of us.”

The Apostolic Nuncio further said that Pope Francis, Archbishop Welby, and Rev. Greenshields are undertaking the ecumenical visit “to help this country because South Sudan is a country of milk and honey.”

The Holy Father’s pastoral trip that had been planned for July last year was postponed in June “at the request of his doctors, and in order not to jeopardize the results of the therapy that he is undergoing for his knee,” the Holy See Press Office Director, Matteo Bruni, stated in his 10 June 2022 statement.

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In his speech during the January 15 Episcopal Ordination, Archbishop van Megen said, “We have been crying for peace and stability in this country for so long but the Holy Father is coming to bring us the peace we have been waiting for.”

Ahead of the planned visit, the 61-year-old Apostolic Nuncio called on the people of God in South Sudan “to come together to support the event.”

“We all need to come during prayer with these great leaders because their messages will give us hope to overcome the challenges we are going through,” he said.

The Dutch-born Vatican diplomat who started his service as Apostolic Nuncio in Sudan in 2014 added, The visit is one way that shows the efforts of the Catholic Church in bringing and supporting peace in this country.”

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.