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Papal visit to South Sudan nears

Author: Rosemary Wilfred | Published: Monday, July 29, 2019

Pope Francis gives the thumbs up sign to journalists during a press conference | File photo

The planned visit of Pope Francis to the country may happen soon, the Chief of International relations for Sant’Egidio community in Rome- an active go-between for the Vatican and South Sudan, has said.

Italian layman Mauro Garofalo made the remarks at a joint news conference in Rome last Friday, after three days of meeting with members of the National Pre-Transitional Committee.

In 2016, Pope Francis met South Sudan’s Catholic bishops at the Vatican, and he planned to visit South Sudan with the archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, in 2017, but security conditions prevented it.

Earlier this year, Pope Francis hosted the members of the South Sudanese presidency, opposition leader Dr. Riek Machar and other imminent persons for a spiritual retreat at the Vatican, where he kissed their feet in pleading for peace.

“I do not have dates for the visit. We only know that the will of His Holiness to visit the country is intact, that he’s paying close attention to the situation of the people,” Mauro Garofalo told reporters in Rome on Friday, “…and to the developments on the ground. Sooner or later, it will happen.”

During the visit to Rome last week, members of National Pre-Transitional Committee continued discussions on how to implement the peace plan.

They also met several Vatican ambassadors to the Holy See, as well as the Vatican’s secretary for relations with the states, British Archbishop Paul Gallagher, who assured them of the Vatican’s support and urged them to “rally” Christians of all stripes for peace.

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