By Adia Jildo
The Catholic Church of South Sudan has announced that Pope Francis will visit the Country on the 5th -7th July 2022.
The Pope will visit the DRC from July 2nd to 5th, visiting the capital Kinshasa and Goma in the eastern province of North Kivu.
“Pope Francis will make an apostolic visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo from date 2-5 of July visiting the city of Kinshasa and Goma and to South Sudan from the 5-7th of July visiting Juba,” the Vatican Embassy Representative for the Apostolic Enunciator Monsignor Ionut Paul announced yesterday.
Minister for Presidential Affairs Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin said the country had been waiting for the visit of the Pope for long time.
“The government and its leadership are prepared and willing to give a warm welcome to the Pope that the people of South Sudan have been waiting for,” he said.
He assured cooperation with the church leadership and the Vatican to see that their visit is possible.
“This is a long-awaited call for the Christian society in South Sudan that his holiness the Pope visits. It is the effort of the Pope that we are now negotiating with the holdout groups and we have succeeded positively,” he said.
He said there is assurance in the security stability on the visit of the Pope to the country.
The archbishop of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan Rt. Rev. Justin Badi called on the government to reconcile as a preparation of the visit.
“Therefore, we encourage all Christians that we should now prepare by avoiding inter-communal violence and our politician should reconcile so that we be prepared to receive them,” he said.
Rev. Badi added that it is a religious visit in the country as well as the politics of the country.
Pope Francis has made four visits to the continent of Africa since his election in 2013.
He visited Kenya, Uganda and the Central African Republic in 2015, Egypt in 2017, and two years later went first to Morocco and then a week-long visit that took him Mozambique, Madagascar and Mauritius.
The trip to South Sudan and DRC is the second papal visit announced for this year, with the pope set to travel to Malta in early April.