Vatican Secretary of State to Meet Returnees from Sudan in Four-Day Visit to South Sudan

Archbishop Stephen Ameyu Martin receives Pietro Cardinal Parolin upon arrival in Juba. Credit: Sudan/South Sudan Catholic Bishops' Conference

The Vatican Secretary of State has arrived in South Sudan, with the intention to meet people fleeing violence from neighboring Sudan, among other activities lined up for his four-day stay in the East Central African country.

In an interview with ACI Africa ahead of the visit, the Apostolic Nuncio in South Sudan said that the visit by Pietro Cardinal Parolin is an extension of the “care and love” of Pope Francis to the people of South Sudan.

Cardinal Parolin is visiting South Sudan as a follow up of his July 2022 visit to review the situation of internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and those fleeing violence in neighboring Sudan. These include people who have been displaced by the ongoing war between Sudan Armed Forces (SAF)  and Paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

“The visit of the Cardinal is another way of extending that care and love of the Holy Father to the people of South Sudan because Pope Francis as we all know him is a man who has always had special attention for the least of our brothers and sisters,” Archbishop Hubertus van Megen said in a Sunday, August 13 interview with ACI Africa at the Apostolic Nunciature in Juba.

He added, “There is an influx of people coming from Sudan to Malakal and it is the intention of the Cardinal to go and meet those people to greet them and show to them the care and love of Pope Francis and also to see their needs.”


He said, “The Holy Father is thinking of all the refugees that are coming in, those from various parts of South Sudan and those from Sudan. Pope Francis is thinking about people who have lost everything in their lives and it is good that these people in one way or another feel they are not forgotten and they are cared for and this is the role of the Church.” 

The Vatican Secretary of State has scheduled to meet different people in the East-Central African nation.

After his reception at Juba International Airport by a section of Clergymen, religious, government officials, and a few faithful, the Cardinal was expected to proceed to Vatican Apostolic Nunciature for a meeting with the Church leaders in South Sudan. 

Also scheduled on Cardinal Parolin’s programme is a meeting with South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir Mayardit, Vice Presidents, and other government officials before traveling to the Catholic Diocese of Malakal to meet with the returnees and refugees from Sudan.

Cardinal Parolin will also visit Rumbek Diocese to listen to the concerns of that Diocese. 

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As scheduled in the program, Cardinal Parolin will plant trees at St Theresa’s Cathedral Kator of Juba Archdiocese before returning to Rome on August 17.

Speaking to journalists August 12, Archbishop Stephen Ameyu Martin of  the Archdiocese of Juba said Pope Francis sent Cardinal Parolin to South Sudan for him to familiarize himself with the situation in South Sudan, both as a state and Church official.

 “His visit shows the love of the Holy Father to South Sudanese. We have a lot to benefit from this visit because it will show how we have progressed with what we shared with the Holy Father when he came and also with the Cardinal when he was in the country with the Pope,” Archbishop Ameyu said during the press conference at his residence in Juba.

The Archbishop of Juba further said Cardinal Parolin is coming to “follow up on some tasks we were given, those tasks are clear in our minds, both Government and the Church tasks.”

“We are here emphasizing the question of comprehensive peace among the people, the peace that was signed in Addis-Ababa, the Revitalize Peace Agreement so far has not yet been implemented systematically, there are some loopholes concerning this agreement that requires follow up,” Archbishop Ameyu who was named Cardinal on July 9 said, and added, “The Holy Father would like us to begin building  peace together, there is no peace without compromises.” 


He continued, “It is not easy to implement this peace especially when there are outlining disagreements between the parties in the implementation of peace; we are here to encourage each party to the Revitalized Peace Agreement to see into it that at least there should be some compromises, there is no peace without compromises.” 

The Cardinal-designate encouraged South Sudanese to have patience amid their hardships, noting that the Church was working tirelessly to ensure that the country’s peace agreement is implemented fully for durable peace and stability in the country.

Kerbino Kuel Deng is a South Sudanese journalist who is passionate about Church communication. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.