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Clergyman tells citizens to bear peace messages ahead of Pope’s visit

Author: Lodiong Alex | Published: Friday, June 10, 2022

Fr. John Gbemboyo Joseph Mbikoyezu, Coordinator of South Sudan Bishops conference. |File photo.

A religious leader is encouraging South Sudanese to start spreading messages of peace in their communities ahead of the visit of Pope Francis visit next month.

Father John Gbemboyo, who is the Coordinator of South Sudan Bishops conference said the visiting delegation of the supreme pontiff should find reflection of peace in the hearts of the people.

“The holly father and the two church leaders are coming on the pilgrimage of peace and we want them to take this message of peace actually in order to reflect on what is in their hearts” said Fr. Gbemboyo.

Pope Francis is expected to arrive in Juba on the 5th of July, along with the Archbishop of Canterbury Welby and Dr. Wayman Ming Junior, the General Bishop of the Pentecostal Church.

Their first stop in Juba is at the Presidential Palace for a courtesy visit to President Salva Kiir and his vice presidents.

On the next day, the Pope will visit the Internally Displaced Persons of Juba, before holding a Prayer at the John Garang Mausoleum.

The religious leaders are coming to pay solidarity to the war-torn country and encourage the leaders to bring peace.

Meanwhile, Father John appeals to citizens to take the historic visit seriously and begin conversations that promote peace and unity.

“In the hearts of these three leaders, is their concern for us in south Sudan to find peace, so we are not treating this visit of the three leaders slightly. We are taking it serious because they have shown to us that they love us and what they want of us is to be at peace,” the religious leader said.

“The gift of Jesus to his apostle after his resignation, was let there be peace. And he also prayed for unity which has become the theme of the visit, may thee all be one; so, we treat this as time to spread a message of peace to our communitie,” he added.

In April 2019, the Pontiff welcomed President Salva Kiir together with the vice presidents to Santa Marta for an ecumenical spiritual retreat, aimed at invoking the gift of peace in the country.

The special retreat included First Vice President Riek Machar, and Vice Presidents James Wani, Rebecca Nyandeng and Taban Deng Gai.

Upon his return, Kiir told the national parliament, in Juba, that he was shocked when the Pope kissed his feet during the Vatican special retreat.

“I was shocked and trembled when His Holiness the Pope kissed our feet. It was a blessing and can be a curse if we play games with the lives of our people,” Kiir said.


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