, 16 March, 2020 / 1:00 AM
Plans are underway for the installation of the new Archbishop of South Sudan’s Archdiocese of Juba, Stephen Ameyu, with the Vatican and the Bishops in Sudan and South Sudan expressing full support of the event scheduled to take place on Sunday, March 22.
“As you know, Sunday 22nd March 2020 is scheduled the ceremony of official entrance and installation of His Grace the most Reverenced Stephen Ameyu Martin Mulla to start his duties as the new Archbishop of Juba,” the delegate of the Congregation for the Evangelization of peoples, Msgr. Visvaldas Kulbokas said in a press statement read out to journalists Saturday, March 14.
The purpose of being in South Sudan’s capital, Juba, the Vatican-based diplomat said during the March 14 press conference, is “to follow-up the supervision of the preparation for the” installation event.
“Although there is still some few work to be done, I am so thankful personally to all those involved, especially the organizing committee, for what they have achieved so far”, said Msgr. Kulbokas whose activities in Juba are “under the mandate of His Holiness Pope Francis.”
“I believe that the most important part remaining is that of a sincere prayer for coming together of all the faithful in the Archdiocese of Juba around the new Archbishop, as a sign of our faith and members of the universal Catholic Church,” he further said.
Bishops in Sudan and South Sudan under SCBC have thrown their weight behind the new Archbishopof Juba expressing gratitude to the Holy Father for reconfirming Archbishop-Elect Stephen Ameyu, a stance the Bishops had voiced in a December 19 letter.
“We are indeed, deeply in debt of thanks for the last reconfirmation of His Grace Stephen Ameyu as the Archbishop of Juba,” reads the letter signed by SCBC president, Bishop Tombe Trille Kuku.
SCBC “re-acknowledges the decision of the Holy Father to whom we pledge our total loyalty as supreme pontiff and successor to St. Peter and Vicar of Christ on earth, accepting the resignation of Rev. Archbishop Paolino releasing him graciously from long term service and appointing Rev. Stephen as the new Archbishop of Juba.”
“We reconfirm with gratitude the steady position of the Holy Father towards the people of South Sudan in general and the Church in particular; his repeated calls for peace,” SCBC wrote and reminded the people of the World’s youngest nation the Holy Father wished the country well.
“His significant fatherly attitude of touching each of us through the concrete and sincere gesture of kissing our feet in the person of our leadership, strengthening our Church by his prayers and the recent provision of the Shepherds Leadership to the diocese of El Obeid; Torit; Marakal and Juba,” the Prelates say.
The Sudanese Bishops have appealed to “brethren in faith, to respect the feelings of the majority of Catholics in the Archdiocese: mothers, fathers, young men and women, children, priests, religious women and men, who are profoundly hurt by the actions and behaviour shown by few who said to represent the indigenous in tribe rather than the indigenous Christian-Catholics!”
“We encourage and respect the Catholic Faithful in the Archdiocese to use their Christian given rights to express their opinions correctly and with respect, the integrity of faith and morals, show due to their Pastor, Pope Francis and taking into account the common good, the dignity of individuals, but refrain the use of inappropriate language,” the Bishops urge the faithful and add, "Do not leave room for the devil" to work on you!”
“It is our fervent prayer that the people of the Archdiocese of Juba will see reason and come back to the church that is founded on the obedience to the authority of God,” the Bishops concluded.
Magdalene Kahiu contributed to the writing of this story.
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa