The Holy Father is currently due to visit Juba from July 5-7.
Pope Francis said he looked forward to visiting South Sudan this summer with the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury and the Moderator of the Church of Scotland on a “pilgrimage of peace”.
In a joint statement released by the Vatican on May 7, Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury and Church of Scotland moderator Jim Wallace joined the pope in urging South Sudan’s leaders to follow the “way of forgiveness and freedom”.
“At this Easter time, we write to share with you our joy in celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ, which shows us that a new path is possible: a path of forgiveness and freedom, which allows us to see God in each other. , even among our enemies,” the statement said.
“This path leads to new life, both for us as individuals and for those we lead. It is our prayer that you will embrace this path again, to discern new avenues amid the challenges and struggles at this time. We also pray that your people will experience the hope of Easter through your leadership. In anticipation of our pilgrimage of peace this summer, we look forward to visiting your great country.
Pope Francis is currently due to travel to South Sudan’s capital, Juba, July 5-7, following a July 2-5 visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo.
If the trip goes through, Pope Francis will become the first pope to visit South Sudan, which became the world’s newest country when it declared independence from the Republic of Sudan on July 9, 2011.
The East-Central African nation has a population of 11 million, about 37% of whom are Catholic.
In 2019, Pope Francis brought South Sudanese leaders together at the Vatican for a “spiritual retreat” aimed at resolving their differences.
The joint statement from Pope Francis, Welby and Wallace was released at a time when the pope is using a wheelchair due to a torn ligament in his right knee. The 85-year-old pope has repeatedly canceled engagements in recent weeks due to knee pain.
A previously planned papal trip to South Sudan with Welby was canceled in 2017 due to security concerns.