South Sudan to Mark Anniversary of First-ever Papal Visit with Vatican Cardinal Trip

Cardinal Michael Czerny. | Pablo Esparza/CNA

The people of God in South are set to commemorate one year since the first-ever Papal visit to the country with the pastoral trip of the Prefect for the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development (DPIHD), Michael Cardinal Czerny.

In a Wednesday, January 31 message announcing Cardinal Czerny’s pastoral trip to the world’s newest nation, the DPIHD highlights places he will visit and the related activities during the eight-day trip that is set to kick off Friday, February 2, the World Day for the Consecrated Life.

The Vatican-based Cardinal is set to visit South Sudan’s only Metropolitan See, Juba, and one of the six suffragan Dioceses, Malakal.

In Juba, Cardinal Czerny is scheduled to preside over Holy Mass at St. Theresa’s Cathedral of Juba Archdiocese on Sunday, February 4, the venue of Pope Francis’ 4 February 2023 meeting with members of the Clergy, women and men Religious, and Seminarians during his three-day visit to South Sudan.

The Czechian-born member of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), who founded and directed the African Jesuit AIDS Network (AJAN) in Nairobi, Kenya, from 2002 to 2010 is also scheduled to visit Renk, one of the entry points for those fleeing violence in Sudan’s capital city, Khartoum.


At the “outreach point” in the Northeastern part of South Sudan, the Cardinal is to “bless a boat”, which Caritas South Sudan “will use to transport migrants and refugees along the Nile River from Renk to Malakal,” the DPIHD says in the January 31 message shared with ACI Africa.

On February 8, the Feast of St. Josephine Bakhita, Cardinal Czerny is scheduled to preside over the Eucharistic celebration at a Malakal Catholic Church dedicated in honor of the Sudanese-born saint, who is the patron saint of victims of modern slavery and human trafficking.

During the February 8 Holy Mass, the Prefect of the DPIHD is to lead the people of God at St. Josephine Bakhita Church in Malakal in marking the tenth annual World Day of Prayer and Reflection against Human Trafficking, whose theme is, “Journeying in Dignity. Listen. Dream. Act”.

Pope Francis established the World Day of Prayer and Reflection against Human Trafficking on the Feast Day of St. Josephine Bakhita in 2015, the Sudanese Canosian Sister described as an “African flower, who knew the anguish of kidnapping and slavery.”

The Holy Father realized the Ecumenical Pilgrimage to South Sudan from February 3-5, undertaking it alongside the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and the Moderator of the Church of Scotland, Iain Greenshields.

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Organized under the theme, "I pray that all may be one", Pope Francis had audiences with South Sudanese authorities, civil society, members of the diplomatic corps, Bishops, members of the Clergy, women and men Religious, Seminarians, and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

The Holy Father also participated in an ecumenical prayer service and presided over Holy Mass at the John Garang Mausoleum on February 3, the last day of his two-African nation pastoral trip that started in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

During the 5 February 2023 Eucharistic celebration, Pope Francis urged Christians in the East-Central African country to make “a decisive contribution to changing history” by refusing to repay evil with evil.

“In the name of Jesus and of his Beatitudes, let us lay down the weapons of hatred and revenge, in order to take up those of prayer and charity,” Pope Francis said in his homily.

He added, “I gather here with you in the name of Jesus Christ, the God of love, the God who achieved peace through his cross. … Jesus, crucified in the lives of so many of you, in so many people in this country; Jesus, the risen Lord, the victor over evil and death.”


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