Catholic Leaders in South Sudan Want Ban on Public Worship Lifted During Easter

Archbishop Stephen Ameyu of Juba Archdiocese, South Sudan

Leaders of the Catholic Church in South Sudan have reached out to the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (R-TGoNU) requesting to be permitted to lead public worship during the Holy Week and Easter.

“As a representative of the Bishops (of South Sudan), we have requested from the presidency that all of us Christians who are involved in this very great moment of the season of Lent and ending up with the Holy Week be exempted from these restrictions of COVID-19,” the Catholic Archbishop of Juba Stephen Ameyu told journalists during the delivery of his Easter Message on Sunday, March 28.

The Archbishop of South Sudan’s only Metropolitan see added, “We have tabled our request to the Vice President Hussein Abdelbaggi and we hope that he will heed to our letter and we will celebrate Easter.”

Hussein Abdelbaggi is South Sudan’s Vice President for Service Cluster who doubles as the Chairperson of the National Taskforce on COVID-19.

Speaking on behalf of the Catholic Bishops in South Sudan, Archbishop Ameyu said, “We think that even without an okay from them (the government), we will have at least the celebration of Easter with a few people selected in consideration of the social distancing as we did last year with the same mood of social distancing.”


He expressed optimism that there will be less transmission of the coronavirus saying, “Some of our Churches are already well organized, having put together all the task forces that they have formed and this will help us to mitigate the question of COVID-19 moving forward.” 

“We know that COVID-19 is a threat to all of us and none of us is immune to it; we who are staying here in the capital Juba have witnessed this disease,” Archbishop Ameyu said.

The Local Ordinary of Juba appealed to the citizens of the nine-year-old country, particularly those residing in urban setups, to keep safe from COVID-19.

“I would call upon all the South Sudanese especially those in the big cities that COVID-19 is a real sickness that kills and it is better to prevent as prevention is better than cure,” he said, and added, “The best way of prevention is the loyalty to protocols that are there, social distancing, wearing the facemasks and handwashing.”

He appealed to the youth of the country to take the disease seriously, saying, “Young people think that they have the immune system and can survive COVID-19 but I think you the young people have to take care of yourselves.”

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