“We have to prepare ourselves for the event,” the South Sudanese Catholic Bishop said, and added, “Some of us are lucky that we will be attending Holy Mass with the Holy Father.”

He continued, “It’s really a great chance for us to be there together to receive blessings from our religious leaders.”

Pope Francis is set to realize his previously postponed trip to two African countries from January 31, according to the program and itinerary that the officials of the Holy See Press office unveiled last month. 

The December 1 Vatican statement provided details of the “Apostolic Journey of His Holiness Francis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and in South Sudan (Ecumenical Pilgrimage of Peace in South Sudan) from 31 January to 5 February 2023.”

Like the itinerary in the postponed visit, the January 31 – February 5 two-African-nation trip has now been scheduled to begin in the capital city of DRC, Kinshasa, and conclude in South Sudan’s capital city, Juba, where the Holy Father alongside Archbishop Welby and Rev. Greenshields are to preside over ecumenical prayer.

In his January 24 address, Bishop Napeta said, “The Holy Father is coming to help end conflict and suffering and to help the people of this country in order to stay together.”

The Local Ordinary of Torit Diocese further called on South Sudanese to be strong in faith and determination as “we wait for the visit to our country.”

“You should continue with this togetherness. I know there are differences among you but we should keep building togetherness as children of God,” he said.

He further called on the People of God in the country to keep “everything that will be given for you during the Pope’s visit very well.”

“You will not keep it well unless you have faith in what you are given,” the South Sudanese Catholic Bishop said, and emphasized the need “to keep praying that the programs would be successful.”