Pope Francis concludes his journey to South Sudan by urging an finish to the “blind fury” of violence

Pope Francis ended a peace mission in South Sudan on Sunday, urging individuals to make themselves resistant to the “poison of hate” to attain peace and prosperity which have eluded them by years of bloody ethnic conflicts.

Francis presided over an outside mass on the grounds of the mausoleum for South Sudanese liberation hero John Garang, who died in a 2005 helicopter crash simply earlier than the Christian-majority nation cut up from Muslim Sudan in 2011.

The 86-year-old pontiff weaved his homily across the themes that dominated his journey to the world’s latest nation — reconciliation and mutual forgiveness for previous wrongs. The group sang, drummed, and ululated as Francis entered the dusty space.

He begged the gang of almost 70,000 to spare the “blind fury of violence”.

Two years after independence, South Sudan plunged right into a civil battle that left 400,000 individuals lifeless. Regardless of the 2018 peace deal between the 2 essential adversaries, bouts of combating have continued to kill and displace giant numbers of civilians.

On the finish of the Mass, in a farewell deal with shortly earlier than he headed to the airport to fly residence, the Pope thanked the individuals of South Sudan for the love that they had proven him.

He instructed them: “Pricey brothers and sisters, I return to Rome with you nearer to my coronary heart.” “By no means lose hope. By no means miss a chance to construct peace. Might hope and peace dwell amongst you. Might hope and peace dwell in South Sudan!”

The Pope had a long-standing curiosity in southern Sudan. In one of many papacy’s most notable gestures, he knelt to kiss the ft of the nation’s previously warring leaders throughout a gathering on the Vatican in 2019.

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, chief of the worldwide Anglican Communion, and Ian Greenshields, session moderator of the Church of Scotland, accompanied the Pope throughout his go to to South Sudan.

The Peace Journey marked the primary time in Christian historical past that leaders of the Catholic, Anglican, and Reformed traditions made a joint overseas go to.

Earlier in his journey to Africa, the pope visited the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), residence to the biggest Roman Catholic group on the continent, the place he celebrated Mass for one million individuals and heard harrowing tales from individuals affected by battle within the japanese a part of the DRC. nation.

Among the many worshipers at Sunday Mass in Juba, the capital of South Sudan, was Frida Mudun, 72, who misplaced three of her kids within the battle.

“I need peace to return to South Sudan. Sure, I feel his go to will change the state of affairs. Now we’re bored with battle,” she mentioned. “We would like God to listen to our prayers.”

“The truth that the three church buildings are united for South Sudan, that is the turning level in the direction of peace,” mentioned Jesselyn Gaba, 42, a widow with 4 kids. “I need the go to to be a blessing for us. We had been in battle, we misplaced so many individuals.”

Francis made one other plea for an finish to the tribalism, monetary irregularities and political nepotism which are on the root of most of the nation’s issues.

He urged the individuals to construct “good human relations as a way of curbing the corruption of evil, the illness of division, the filth of fraudulent enterprise dealings, and the plague of injustice.”

South Sudan has among the largest crude oil reserves in sub-Saharan Africa, however a United Nations report in 2021 mentioned the nation’s leaders had diverted “huge quantities of cash and different wealth” from public coffers and assets.

The federal government rejected the report and denied accusations of widespread corruption.


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