Friday, September 23, 2022

South Sudan Papal Ecumenical Visit Awaiting Vatican’s “official announcement”: Archbishop


The ecumenical visit to South Sudan to be undertaken by Pope Francis, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and the Moderator of the Church of Scotland, Iain Greenshields, is awaiting the Holy See’s “official announcement”, the Archbishop of South Sudan’s only Metropolitan See has said.

On September 13, Pope Francis said he was in contact with the head of the Anglican Communion and the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in view of realizing their postponed ecumenical trip to South Sudan.

“I spoke the other day with Archbishop Welby [Archbishop of Canterbury and symbolic head of the Anglican Communion ed.] and we saw February (2023) as a possibility for going to South Sudan,” Pope Francis said in a conversation with reporters on his flight from Rome to Kazakhstan.

In an interview with Radio Bakhita that was reported Tuesday, September 20, Archbishop Stephen Ameyu Martin said that the Catholic Church in South Sudan is already making preparations while awaiting an official announcement from the Vatican.

“The Holy Father recently stated that he would still like to visit South Sudan and suggested the month of February,” Archbishop Ameyu said, adding that the ecumenical trip is not official yet because “we are still awaiting  an official announcement from the Holy See”.

“As a Church in South Sudan we will have this communicated to us when the time comes,” the Local Ordinary of Juba Archdiocese who doubles as the Apostolic Administrator of Torit Diocese further said.

The Church will continue with preparations “to receive the Holy Father and the other Church leaders,” Archbishop Ameyu said, and added, “We will announce to you the coming of the Holy Father when time comes through the mass media.”

On June 10, Matteo Bruni, the Holy See Press Office Director, announced the postponement “with regret” of the Holy Father’s third  trip to Africa.

“At the request of his doctors, and in order not to jeopardize the results of the therapy that he is undergoing for his knee, the Holy Father has been forced to postpone, with regret, his Apostolic Journey to the Democratic Republic of Congo and to South Sudan, planned for 2 to 7 July, to a later date to be determined,” Mr. Bruni stated.

Pope Francis suffers from a torn ligament in his right knee, a condition that has limited his ability to walk. On May 19, he used a wheelchair during a public meeting, the first time he had done so publicly since leaving the hospital after colon surgery in July 2021.