In the Tuesday, March 21 Interview with ACI Africa, Fr. Lo’boka Morris said that he was honored that Pope Francis would think of writing to him immediately after he left South Sudan, ending his trip to Africa between January 31 and February 5, the Holy Father's third pastoral visit to Sub-Saharan Africa that had started in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
“It impressed me a lot that the Holy Father appreciates the work I did for him acknowledging that it’s not very easy to do the translation. I must say that I did it for him by the spirit of dedication,” Fr. Lo’boka Morris said.
He added, “I was really honored and at the same time impressed by the sensibility of the Holy Father that immediately after he left Juba, he sent me an appreciation letter for my work.”
“I am very grateful for his sensibility and the sense of humility to remember the services I gave,” the Juba-based Catholic Priest who serves as the Regional Superior of AJ members in Sudan and South Sudan told ACI Africa.
He added in reference to Pope Francis, “I thought once he has gone he will engage in other things because he has many things to do.”
Pope Francis’ February 7 letter shows that the Holy Father is a person who does not take anything for granted and appreciates deeply what the people of God in South Sudan rendered to him during his ecumenical visit, Fr. Lo’boka Morris further said.
The holder of a doctoral degree in Islamic Studies shared that he had been asked much earlier by the Nairobi-based Apostolic Nuncio in Kenya and South Sudan to render translation services to the Holy Father during his trip, which was later postponed.
“I accepted and told them I will rise up to this challenge but the visit of the Holy Father was canceled,” he told ACI Africa, and added, “When the Pope announced he was coming, I was reminded about the job of translation I was supposed to do.”
The South Sudanese Catholic Priest who previously served as Lecturer for Islam and Muslim Culture at the Pontifical Beda College and visiting Lecturer at the Pontifical Institute of Arabic and Islamic Studies (PISAI), both in Rome, said that he had found it deeply gratifying to stay with the Holy Father for a period of three days.
He recalled how challenging the translating task had been at the start, saying, “In the beginning, I was told that I would translate the homily from Italian into Arabic when I didn’t have the text with me.”