Church Leaders in South Sudan to Foster Reconciliation “before the Holy Father comes”

Archbishop Stephen Ameyu Martin of South Sudan's Juba Archdiocese. Credit: Radio Bakhita/Facebook

Church leaders in South are to organize ecumenical prayer sessions aimed at fostering reconciliation in the country ahead of the pastoral visit of Pope Francis alongside the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and the Moderator of the Church of Scotland, Jim Wallace.

In a May 28 Interview with Radio Bakhita, Archbishop Stephen Ameyu Martin said, “There will be reconciliation prayer so that all of us are reconciled before the Holy Father comes.”

“I know we have had a problem in the Catholic Church before, but now people are working together and greeting each other,” Archbishop Ameyu said, making reference to the July 5-7 ecumenical visit.

The Local Ordinary of Juba Archdiocese who doubles as the Apostolic Administrator of Torit Diocese said an ecumenical prayer session has been scheduled to take place at John Garang Mausoleum, the same venue that the ecumenical prayer service by Pope Francis, Archbishop Welby, and Rev. Wallace will be held on July 6.

The Holy Father has also been scheduled to preside over Holy Mass at the same venue on the last day of the South Sudan ecumenical visit.


Speaking about the prayer session that church leaders in South Sudan are organizing, Archbishop Ameyu said, “Before the coming of Pope Francis this prayer will include all the churches and believers even Muslims for reconciliation that will be in June.”

The visit of the Holy Father is first and foremost spiritual, the South Sudanese Archbishop said, adding that Pope Francis is also coming “as a visitor to the government of South Sudan because the Holy Father is the head of the Vatican.”

“The coming of Pope Francis is for everyone not only for Catholics,” the 58-year-old Catholic Archbishop told Bakhita Radio of the Archdiocese of Juba.

In April, Archbishop Ameyu said the Church was satisfied with the government’s preparations to welcome Pope Francis in the country.

On May 28, officials of the Holy See Press unveiled the itinerary of Pope Francis’ Apostolic visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and what they have described an “Ecumenical Peace Pilgrimage to the South Sudanese Land and People”. 

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When realized, the July 2-7 pastoral trip to DRC and South Sudan will mark Pope Francis’ third visit to sub-Saharan Africa.

The journey will be the first-ever Papal visit to South Sudan and the third Papal trip 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.