Pope sending delegation to mark South Sudan independence
By David Kerr

.- Pope Benedict XVI is sending a papal delegation to the Republic of South Sudan to mark the east African country’s independence tomorrow, July 9. The delegation will be headed Cardinal John Njue of Nairobi, Kenya.

“The Holy See …invites the international community to support Sudan and the new independent State,” Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., said in a statement issued July 8. 

The statement urged northern and southern Sudanese to engage in “frank, peaceful and constructive dialogue” to achieve “just and equitable solutions” to all the questions surrounding the historic secession of South Sudan. The Church also hoped that the process will result in “peace, freedom and development.”

South Sudan’s independence is the end result of a 2005 peace deal that concluded more than two decades of civil war between the Muslim Arab-dominated north and the mainly Christian and animist south. The split was ratified earlier this year in a referendum that saw over 98 percent of southern Sudanese vote for secession.

“With this celebration of independence we are saying goodbye to the past and embracing a new thing, without fighting, a new future of reconciliation, solidarity and forgiveness,” said Cardinal Gabriel Zubeir Wako of Khartoum, North Sudan, in a July 8 interview with Vatican Radio.

Cardinal Wako explained how this evening will witness people across North and South Sudan gathering in towns and villages to build bonfires and hold prayer vigils and fasting. At dawn the bonfires will then be lit and the fast will be broken. 

“The bishops’ conference have planned a religious celebration – not necessarily on the same day. But in all diocese there will be celebrations with dance and song in thanksgiving to God and the acknowledgment of the good that those who have worked for peace have achieved in the country,” the cardinal said.

The Catholic Church played a key part in bringing peace to the war-torn region. This included attempts to broker dialogue at the highest levels as well as supporting ordinary people on the ground.

“It did a lot to convince people that no solution would be found by violence and conflict,” said Cardinal Wako.

Those efforts involved trying to get those doing the fighting to reflect upon their moral behavior while also making sure those most affected by war were protected, fed and educated. “We opened a lot of schools during the war, which at least occupied large part of the young people, rather than their taking up arms.”

But out of all the Church did, it was women who played the most crucial role, Cardinal Wako said. He explained, “we recruited women in order to talk and convince people in the villages of the need for peace.” 

“And we also encouraged literacy among women, we challenged them to do something constructive, the mothers and sisters to help their men develop and become the building blocks of the future society in Sudan.”

In the same way the Catholic Church helped to end the war, it is now being asked to play a central role in building a lasting peace.

“The Churches are the only institutions really that cut across these tribal and ethnic divisions, and also the social divisions,” said Rob Rees of the English Catholic-Aid agency CAFOD told Vatican Radio.

“If you take the Catholic Bishops Conference, for example, there are nine principle ethnic groups that are represented by the bishops.”

“The bishops all get along with each other, obviously. They can demonstrate that unity between the different ethnic groups is possible.”

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)
Ads by Google
(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic

Liturgical Calendar

April 25, 2014

Friday within the Octave of Easter

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Jn 21:1-14


Daily Readings

Saint of the Day

St. Mark, the Evangelist »


Homily of the Day

Jn 21:1-14


Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
Text only

Follow us: