Pope Francis said goodbye today to South Sudan, where he arrived on Friday from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), wishing hope and reconciliation for a country that suffers so much after a bloody civil war and a major humanitarian crisis, but also for the entire African continent.
“Hope is the word that I would like to leave each one of you, as a gift to share, as a seed that bears fruit,” Francis said in the final greeting after a massive mass celebrated in front of more than 100,000 people, according to local authorities. at Juba’s John Garang Mausoleum.
And he added that “hope, especially here, is found in the sign of women and for this I would like to thank and bless all the women of the country in a special way.”
“I would like to entrust the path of reconciliation and peace to another woman, the greatest and at the same time the smallest, the tallest and at the same time the closest to us, to each one of us. I mean our tender Mother Mary, the Queen of peace,” the pope continued.
To Mary, the Pope entrusted “the cause of peace in South Sudan and in the entire African continent, where so many of our brothers and sisters in faith suffer persecution and danger; where so many people suffer from conflict, exploitation and poverty. “.
Also “peace in the world, in particular the many countries that are at war, such as the tormented Ukraine.”
At the mass in Juba, Francis had reiterated his call to lay down the weapons of hatred and revenge in a country trying to implement peace accords after a bloody civil war.
He called on Catholics to show themselves “people capable of creating bonds of friendship, of living fraternity, of building good human relationships, to prevent the corruption of evil, the morbidity of divisions, the filth of illicit business and the plague of injustice prevail”.
Francis was accompanied on this visit by the leader of the Anglican Church, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and the moderator of the Church of Scotland, Iain Greenshields, since the country has a significant presence of these confessions.
His intention was to fully implement the peace agreement that was signed between the different factions in 2018 and that they promised to comply with during the retreat in the Vatican, where the historic gesture of the pope who kissed the feet of the South Sudanese leaders took place.
For now, the pope has wrested from President Salva Kiir Mayardit the promise that he will lift the blockade he was maintaining in order to sit down and negotiate the peace agreement with the resistance groups.
After his last act in Juba, Pope Francis will return to Rome after a six-day trip.
Source: Euronews Español