Why Creation of a Cardinal Means a Lot for South Sudan: Catholic Official

Fr. Nicholas Kiri, Vicar -General of the Catholic Archdiocese of Juba. Credit: ACI Africa

The creation of the Archbishop of Juba in South Sudan during a consistory scheduled for September 30 means a lot for the East-Central African country that will be having a Cardinal for the first time, a Catholic official in the country has said.

Archbishop Stephen Ameyu Martin Mulla is among the 21 Catholic Church leaders, to be made Cardinals by Pope Francis during the consistory.

In an interview with ACI Africa on Thursday, September 28, Fr. Nicholas Kiri, the Vicar General of South Sudan’s Catholic Archdiocese of Juba said the creation of the new Cardinal is a significant recognition of the Church in the country which has been wreaked by violence.

 “This is a moment of blessing for our country, and for our people who have suffered for a long time,” Fr. Kiri said.

“It will mean a lot,” he said, and added, “For the first time the Church in South Sudan is being recognized in such an immense way.”


The South Sudanese Priest said that apart from being a blessing, the creation of the Cardinal is a challenge for the people of God in South Sudan to be “truly Church.”

“The question at this moment is, are we truly Church? Is the Word made fully flesh in us?” he said, and added, “With Archbishop Ameyu being made a Cardinal, there is a call that you (South Sudanese) can now become a good Church.”

Asked about what this elevation will bring to South Sudan, specifically the Catholic community in the country, Fr. Kiri, who was ordained a Priest in November 1984, said, “It is going to bring enormous blessings just like the visit of the Pope has brought a lot of blessings.”

The 64-year-old South Sudanese Catholic Priest explained, “The opportunity is given now through the Cardinal for us to prove ourselves that we are the Church.” 

The South Sudanese Catholic Priest urged the people of God in South Sudan to support Archbishop Ameyu, saying, “Let us commit ourselves to work side by side. First we have to promise him our support as Clergy to work in collaboration with him.”

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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.