Pope Determined to Come to South Sudan, “don’t be discouraged”: Catholic Archbishop

Archbishop Stephen Ameyu of South Sudan's Juba Archdiocese. Credit: ACI Africa

The Catholic Archbishop of Juba in South Sudan has assured the people of God in the East-Central African nation of Pope Francis’ determination to realize the previously scheduled ecumenical visit that he is to undertake alongside the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and the Moderator of the Church of Scotland, Jim Wallace

In a Saturday, June 18 Interview with ACI Africa, Archbishop Stephen Ameyu Martin urged citizens of the world’s youngest nation not to get discouraged following the decision to postpone the ecumenical visit and instead continue preparing to receive the three church leaders. 

“Our people should not get discouraged and there is no discouragement in this case because the Holy Father is determined to come with his colleagues and friends,” Archbishop Ameyu said told ACI Africa on the sidelines of an ecumenical prayer session.

The South Sudanese Archbishop added in reference to the Holy Father, “Be patient because he is seeing your sufferings and he will respond to your suffering as well as liberating you from the sufferings.”

“You must always be faithful and appeal to God because in prayer we are stronger,” the Local Ordinary of Juba Archdiocese who doubles as the Apostolic Administrator of Torit Diocese further said.


He sought to assure the people of God in South Sudan about the unconditional love of God for them saying, “God is our father who is going to respond to us because a father always provides (for) his children when they ask for bread; he will give them (without) quarreling.”

“We must prepare and continue to pray for the health of the Holy Father and also prepare spiritually for welcoming these important men in our churches,” the 58-year-old South Sudanese Archbishop told ACI Africa during the June 18 interview.

He added, “I would ask us to continue preparing in our physical places where the Holy Father is going to pray and lead the people; our churches and the mausoleum will continue to be prepared for the coming of the Holy Father.”

The South Sudanese Archbishop who has been at the helm of Juba Archdiocese since March 2020 further said, “The preparation will also be at the Protection of Civilian Site (POC) IDP camp, which the Holy Father (has planed) to visit”.

“I hope our people will continue to prepare; our choirs, our people preparing the liturgy should continue to prepare for the coming of the Holy Father,” Archbishop Ameyu told ACI Africa. 

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In the program the Holy See published on May 28, Pope Francis’ 37th Apostolic Visit abroad was to begin in the capital city of DRC, Kinshasa on July 2, and conclude on July 7 in South Sudan’s capital city, Juba.

On June 12, Pope Francis said he is praying to reschedule the Apostolic trip to DRC and the ecumenical visit to South Sudan “as soon as possible”.

In his remarks after his Angelus reflection for pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square on Holy Trinity, the Holy Father expressed optimism and asked the people of God to join him in praying for the realization of the two-African-nation pastoral visit.

He apologized to authorities of the two African nations for having to postpone the six-day trip.

On June 13, the Holy Father reiterated his intention to reschedule his African trip.


Speaking during the June 18 ecumenical prayer session held at All Saints Cathedral in Juba, Archbishop Stephen Ameyu challenged church leaders in South Sudan to lead by example and be “lovers of humanity”.

“We the Church leaders in South Sudan have to be lovers of humanity to give examples that the humanity we love can be reconciled to God and to one another,” Archbishop Ameyu said.

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.