Pope Francis expresses closeness to South Sudan ecumenical delegation
By Linda Bordoni
A delegation of the ecumenical Sudan Council of Churches met with Pope Francis in the Vatican before speaking to the press at the headquarters of the Rome-based Sant’Egidio Community which is engaged in peace negotiations in the country.
Archbishop John Baptist Odama of Gulu in Uganda, who has been involved in mediating between South Sudan’s warring parties, told Vatican News that Pope Francis was very happy to meet with the ecumenical delegation:
“Working together as Christians is more important than stressing our differences” he said.
Uganda receiving South Sudanese refugees
Archbishop Odama also explained that Uganda is playing an important role in the region.
Uganda in fact currently hosts over a million refugees who have fled South Sudan out of fear of being killed by fighters from either side of the conflict inside South Sudan, as well as out of hunger and lack of social services.
Odama pointed out that South Sudan is not only a neighbor, but a brother in need:
“When your brother’s house is burning you should feel concerned; even just to get some water and to pour it over the burning house is a good gesture. Therefore, receiving the refugees who are running, escaping from the war is a sign of our solidarity with South Sudan” he said.
Pope calling on the world to take action
The Archbishop also reflected on the fact that the recent Day of Prayer for Peace for South Sudan and for the Democratic Republic of Congo called for by Pope Francis, was an appeal to humanity to take stock of the fact that one of its parts is suffering and to urge the world to take action together and ask God for a way to stop this war.
“As human being we are one. If any part in any continent or in any country is suffering, then humanity is suffering” he said.