Vatican City, 15 November, 2019 / 3:52 am (ACI Africa).
Three days after Pope Francis led Catholic faithful in praying for peace and reconciliation in South Sudan and expressed the hope to visit the East African country, the Holy Father has reconfirmed his desire to realize the trip to the world’s youngest country and disclosed that it would be a joint pastoral visit, together with the spiritual leader of the worldwide Anglican communion, Archbishop Justin Welby.
On Sunday, November 10, three days after the main political leaders in South Sudan agreed to a 100-day extension of the once renewed deadline for the formation of a unity government, Pope Francis led Catholics at the Vatican in praying a “Hail Mary” for the end of the protracted conflict in the country and addressed “a special thought to the dear people of South Sudan, whom,” the Holy Father said, he “will have to visit.”
On Wednesday, November 13, Pope Francis and Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury met at the Vatican during which they expressed their desire to make a joint pastoral visit to South Sudan, particularly if “a transitional government of national unity” will have been created.
After the Vatican encounter of the two global leaders at the Casa Santa Marta guest house, the Holy See Press Office reported, “During the friendly discussions, the conditions of Christians in the world was mentioned, as well as certain situations of international crisis, particularly the sorrowful situation in South Sudan.”
The Holy See Press Office statement continued, “At the end of the meeting, the Holy Father and the Archbishop of Canterbury agreed that if the political situation in the Country permits the creation of a transitional government of national unity in the coming 100 days, according to the timing set by the recent agreement signed in Entebbe, in Uganda, it is their intention to visit South Sudan together.”