Cardinal Michael Czerny visits South Sudan

Cardinal Michael Czerny visits South Sudan

One year after Pope Francis' apostolic journey to South Sudan, the Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, Cardinal Michael Czerny, is visiting this African country from February 2 to 9.

During his pastoral visit, Card. Michael Czerny will visit Juba, Malakal and Renk.

The Prefect arrived in Juba on Saturday, February 3. On the first day of his pastoral visit to South Sudan he held a meeting with the Catholic Bishops of Sudan and South Sudan and extended the greetings of Pope Francis to them. He underlined the roles of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, which is at the service of the Holy Father and the local Bishop Conferences around the world and offers its services to the local Churches to help people overcome obstacles that hinder their development.

Photos of events in Juba

Holy Mass in Juba

On Sunday, February 4, he presided a Mass in the Cathedral of St. Theresa in Juba. Among the civil authorities present were the second vice President, Wani Iga and the speaker of Parliament, Jemma Nunu Kumba.

In his homily, Cardinal Czerny addressed the greetings of Pope Francis, assured that the Holy Father prays for South Sudan and recalled that his visit takes place on the first anniversary of the Pope's apostolic journey that took place from February 3 to 5, 2023.

“Dear people of God, with little changed or improved since last year, I repeat the Holy Father’s message to civil authorities and diplomats in Juba. Stressing the need for unity, reconciliation, cooperation, peace, he evoked the Nile to inspire a change in political will”, said.

In particular, the Holy Father called upon the leaders of this nation: “to ensure the delivery of basic social services; to provide good governance and proper management of public resources; to end the widespread community violence; to promote peaceful co-existence through healing, forgiveness and reconciliation; to promote human development; to open political and civic spaces and participation for all, especially youth and women; to respect the dignity and human rights of vulnerable populations especially the returnees and refugees, internally displaced persons, children, persons with disability, the elderly and to care for our common home, the planet Earth”.

Among the activities of the pastoral visit, the prefect participates in meetings, as civil and ecclesiastical authorities, with representatives of social ministries and in ecumenical meetings.

On February 6, Cardinal Czerny traveled to Renk, on the border with Sudan. In Renk, he appreciated the good work done by the Diocese of Malakal and the welcoming attitude of the local community, despite not having abundant resources. He also visited the reception center for returnees and refugees from Sudan where he met with various people, including representatives of Caritas Malakal, the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) and the United Nations.

Photos in Renk and Malakal

The Prefect addressed the Pastoral assembly of the Diocese of Malakal, inviting them to remember that the charitable activities of the Church are part of the evangelization efforts and also met with different authorities, among them, with the Governor of Upper Nile State and praised their reception of returnees and refugees from Sudan.

On February 8, World Day of Prayer and Reflection against Human Trafficking, Cardinal Michael Czerny presided at a Mass in Malakal, in the church of St. Josephine Bakhita. During the Eucharist he ordained 3 deacons.

In his homily, he stressed that “the history of St. Josephine Bakhita is a story of hope, from captivity and slavery to eventually learning of God in a convent of Sisters. When finally, she was freed, she chose a life of full commitment to God and entered religious life. As a religious sister, she shared her story of captivity and slavery… Despite her sufferings, and even later despite the illness she endured, she remained cheerful, always following the desires of her Master Jesus Christ. In all of this, St. Josephine Bakhita gives us such a strong example of being hopeful even amidst dire circumstances”.

“Turning now to today’s South Sudan, in every place you need to be very awake and alert, to remain faithful to the God of Jesus Christ, who is the God of peace, the God of Love, the God of forgiveness, the God of reconciliation, the God of well-being and the God of true goodness and true happiness”, said.

Before concluding the trip, Cardinal Czerny blessed a boat that the local Caritas will use to transport migrants and refugees across the Nile River from Renk to Malakal.

31 January 2024