South Sudan and the AMECEA region elated with the upcoming visit of Pope Francis.
Sr. Jecinter Antoinette Okoth, FSSA – Nairobi, Kenya.
South Sudan's Archbishop of Juba, Stephen Ameyu Martin Mulla, said preparations towards the Pope's visit have started. "As a Conference, we have appointed a four-man committee to begin the work of preparations, and this committee will also work with a government committee," he said.
Pope expected to encourage reconciliation
Archbishop Ameyu disclosed that the Bishops' Conference and the entire nation were delighted with the forthcoming visit. They hope that Pope Francis' presence in their country will promote peace among them.
"As a nation and Church, we feel honoured and exulted by the visit of His Holiness Pope Francis to South Sudan," said Archbishop Ameyu. He continued, "It will be a great moment for all South Sudanese to rally around peace and reconciliation, and we hope the Holy Father will encourage all of us to move the path of dialogue, peace and justice for the consolidation of peace in the county."
Archbishop Ameyu said the Church in South Sudan also appreciates the recent appointment of Bishops as most dioceses in the country had been vacant.
Ecumenical dimension of the visit
The Archbishop of Juba acknowledged the ecumenical aspect of the Pope's visit.
"The visit of his Holiness has an ecumenical dimension. Concurrently, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland will also be present during the apostolic visit in South Sudan," he said.
Pope Francis and the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, in 2019, announced their intention to travel together to South Sudan.
AMECEA region delighted to host the Pope
Speaking on behalf of the regional Bishops' Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA), the association's chairperson, Bishop Charles Sampa Kasonde, expressed the region's joy in hosting Pope Francis again after he visited Kenya and Uganda in 2015.
"We are very happy, and we are looking forward to receiving our Holy Father, Pope Francis, in South Sudan," said Bishop Kasonde of Solwezi Diocese in Zambia. He added "I am very delighted."