Still, Kussala said the bishops' conference is grateful for and encouraged by the pope's meeting with the leaders of opposing groups in South Sudan.
"We have tried to keep the momentum, to continue to work harder and make sure peace is actually in this country….It has again energized us" to serve the leaders and the people, he said.
Kiir said his meeting with Pope Francis was especially meaningful for him, as he grew up in an area of South Sudan that was evangelized primarily by Catholic missionaries, from whom he has learned much.
"Jesus came to the world to teach people to forgive and to live in peace with whoever is near you. And we as Catholics, especially in South Sudan, we have learned a lot from God's teaching," he reflected.
"This is why [although] we have been under oppression all this time...we're able to reconcile with those oppressors and then we see them as brothers and sisters."
Kiir said the moment when the Pope displayed such humility was inspiring to him as the leader of the country.
"The feelings that I had at the moment, at that hour, was that I should try my best when I come back to South Sudan. I should try my best to bring peace to my people, so that people reconcile among themselves, and people do not think of fighting again," Kiir said.
Bishop Kussala said his diocese has been working on peacebuilding and reconciliation efforts.
"We feel that finding local answers, local solutions to the problems emerging among us is the way forward," he said.
The diocese recently united with other church groups to bring 10,000 young men back from the bush, where they had been fighters, and to prepare the community for reconciliation and forgiveness.
"Many of them are being integrated into the government and are already working in the different organized forces. Others are also being engaged in social and economic activities," he said.
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Kussala emphasized the spiritual aspect of the peace process. He said it is important to see one another with the eyes of faith.
"[We must] believe that we are all equal, we are children of God. We have to forgive each other, that is our strong weapon," he said.