By Charles K Mark
Faithful and devoted followers of the Catholic doctrine are eager for October 30, 2023; grand home return of South Sudan’s first-ever cardinal.
Dr. Stephen Ameyu Martin Mulla is one of the 21 bishops named by Pope Francis on July 9, 2023, at a convention for the creation of new Cardinals.
Some faithful can’t wait to receive him back to bless the motherland with the anointing from the Vatican’s head, the Holy Father, Pope Francis.
Sister Renata Severino from the Sisters of Charity in Rajaf East expressed joy, love, and readiness to welcome His Eminence Cardinal Stephen Ameyu Martin Mulla to Juba.
“I was one of the people who participated live there in St. Peter Square to witness the event. It was a feeling that all of us would become one. So I felt it was a time to be united,” Sr. Renata said.
The Reverend Sister believed the elevation of Ameyu to a Cardinal was not only for the bishop but for South Sudan; hence, the welcome should be felt and enjoyed by all.
“We, the South Sudanese who went there to attend the event, were from different denominations; even the Muslim sheik was there with us. So I feel this should be the beginning of unity,” Renata expressed.
The Catholic Nun explains that the perception that South Sudanese are violent and hot-tempered has lately been marred with love and joy exhibited to the world.
“So it is a big joy for the church as a whole and the Catholic Church in the world—the Christians and Muslims in South Sudan,” the Reverend Sister maintained.
“Even through the ongoing preparations, you can feel and see that people have given up the past for a new page.” She observed.
She added that being a Christian is not just a name but a responsibility to be a witness and to be somebody carrying peace and good news to the people.
“The good news is that we are now preparing and waiting for our Cardinal to come back to us. The ongoing preparation is for and by the church, not a group of people inside the church,” Renata said.
“I would like to say to those who are still sitting and watching from afar, there is nothing we carry with us but what we expect,” she added.
Another clergyman, Mr. Placido Popo Martin, Executive Director of the Catholic charity organization, Caritas Juba, also shared his feelings about the same occasion.
“My feelings for the country, South Sudan, are that we are so blessed to have it for the first time ever as a nation, and we only have nine or ten years as a nation or eleven years as a nation; it’s a blessing,” he expressed.
Popo said the Cardinalship is part of showing that people are in solidarity with Rome and that Rome is in solidarity with the people of South Sudan.
“The reception will be a very great one because it involves every member of our communities, especially people from the diocese who are here,” the Caritas director said.
Anticipating a great reception, Popo called for people from all walks of life to join the Catholic Church and the country at large.
“Our invitations should go to our brothers in the other denominations to come because we are all Christians, we believe in one God, and there’s a chance for us to have solidarity together,” he urged.
He reiterated that having a seat in the College of the Cardinals in Rome is a much greater blessing and is promising because it gives the country room to put its ranks together and offer peace.
Cardinal Stephen Ameyu Martin Mulla, born on January 10, 1964, hails from Torit County, Eastern Equatoria, South Sudan.
He first received priestly ordination on April 21, 1991, as a diocesan priest of the Catholic diocese of Torit.