Ecumenical Visit to South Sudan to Aid Living “our faith with conviction”: Catholic Bishop

Bishop Eduardo Hiiboro Kussala of South Sudan's Tombura-Yambio Diocese. Credit: Ruru Gene newsletter of CDTY

The Catholic Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Tombura-Yambio (CDTY) in South Sudan has said that the planned ecumenical trip, which Pope Francis is expected to undertake alongside the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and the Moderator of the Church of Scotland, Jim Wallace will help the people of God in the East-African nation to live their “faith with conviction”.

The Holy Father is scheduled to visit South Sudan in his two-African-nation pastoral trip that is to begin in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on July 2.

In a May 20 report by Ruru Gene newsletter of CDTY, Bishop Eduardo Hiiboro Kussala calls on the people of God in South Sudan to pray for the success of the ecumenical visit.

“Let us pray to the Holy Spirit that this visit will help us to live our faith with conviction and to be authentic witnesses by leading a life of integrity, honesty, truth, justice, peace, and social commitment, while passing on our faith to peaceful future generations” Bishop Hiiboro has been quoted as saying.

The South Sudanese Catholic Bishop adds, “The visit of Pope Francis is a great blessing and a pilgrimage of peace.”


He goes on to invite invites the people of God under his pastoral care to prepare for the “historical visit through prayer.”

“I invite the South Sudanese people and those of my Diocese of Tombura-Yambio to prepare for this special historical visit, mainly through prayer, so that when Pope Francis is among us, we may welcome him with joy and an open heart, and with unusual kindness,” Bishop Hiiboro says.

Many people are looking toward the Holy Father’s visit as a “good thing” despite the challenges they are facing, the Catholic Bishop who has been at the helm of Tombura-Yambio Diocese since his Episcopal Ordination in June 2008 says.

“The interest is that so many people are taking this visit as a good thing. It shows that, despite the signs of instability, poverty, and continual violence, there is a search for meaning in the hearts of all,” he says in the May 20 report.

The mission of Pope Francis is “bringing people to him, and through him, to God,” the Catholic Bishop says.

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The ecumenical trip, he says, “is a special moment for all of us to listen to and be inspired by his message, especially as he calls us to respect the true, human dignity of each person, particularly those who are poor, vulnerable, and marginalized.”

Bishop Hiiboro continues, “This visit is a moment of accountability for South Sudanese, hoping this action will inspire all South Sudanese to journey peacefully in mutual understanding, genuine respect, and true care for our common humanity.”

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

In the May 20 report, Bishop Hiiboro says that “Pope Francis’ trip to South Sudan is probably going to change the views of South Sudanese and also Catholics, Presbyterians, and Anglicans.”

“They will greatly reinforce the already living Ecumenical culture available,” he adds, making reference to the planned visit by Pope Francis alongside Archbishop Welby and Rev. Wallace.


“First, Pope Francis presents Catholics and non-Catholics alike with the idea that there is another ‘source’ for understanding ourselves and the issues that divide and unite our communities, and secondly unity of purpose, an essential project of peace, holiness of life Christ’s followers, loving more our nation, South Sudan,” the 58-year-old Bishop says.

He expresses the hope that the planned ecumenical visit “will be a moment of reconciliation, the end of the war, and the beginning of embracing peace the same way when Pope visited Mozambique in 2019.”

“My inner prayers which I believe is that, since most often, Papal travels precipitate historic turns, like the case of national reconciliation in Mozambique, this visit should reconcile all of us (in) South Sudan, and war be bygone and peace engulf us forevermore,” Bishop Hiiboro adds.

When realized, the July 2-7 pastoral trip to DRC and South Sudan will mark Pope Francis’ third visit to sub-Saharan Africa, and the third Papal visit to DRC, which is home to Africa's largest Catholic population.

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.