The Holy See’s Secretary for Relations with States, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, concludes an intense three-day visit to South Sudan.
By Vatican News
From December 21 to 23, 2021, Bishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Vatican Secretary for Relations with States, visited South Sudan, accompanied by the Vatican official, Bishop Andrea Piccioni.
Juba welcomes Bishop Gallagher
Archbishop Gallagher arrived in Juba in the early afternoon of December 21. The Apostolic Nuncio to South Sudan, Archbishop Hubertus Matheus Maria van Megen, residing in Nairobi, Kenya, led a delegation that received the senior Vatican official at the airport.
Mgr Ionuţ Paul Strejac, Chargé d’Affaires, domiciled in Juba, and the Archbishop of Juba, as well as the Bishops of Malakal and Wau, were also present to receive Mgr Gallagher. Also present was a representative of the clergy and religious serving in South Sudan.
After a brief welcome, Bishop Gallagher remained at the airport for a private conversation with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Mayiik Ayii Deng.
Meetings with representatives of Lambeth Palace
In the afternoon of the same day, at the Apostolic Nunciature, the Secretary for State Relations met with Anglican Bishop Precious Omuku and Mrs. Martha Jarvis, representatives of the Archbishop of Canterbury (Lambeth Palace), and some diplomats, with whom he discussed the current political, economic and social situation in South Sudan.
Bishop Gallagher then met with the bishops of South Sudan. They thanked the Holy Father for his paternal closeness and renewed the commitment of the local Church in the country.
President Kiir thanks Pope Francis for his closeness to South Sudan
On the morning of December 22, Bishop Gallagher, accompanied by delegations from the Holy See and from Lambeth Palace, was received by the President of the Republic, Mr. Salva Kiir Mayardit, at his residence.
During the cordial conversation, the support of the Holy See for the peace process was reaffirmed and the possibility of the Holy Father, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland to visit Sudan from South next year has been discussed.
The proposal was warmly received by the Head of State. President Kiir reiterated his government’s commitment to implement the peace process.
He thanked the Holy Father and the Archbishop of Canterbury for promoting peace, unity and stability in his country. In particular, the President of the Republic thanked Pope Francis for the humanitarian aid offered to the populations affected by the recent floods, in particular in the diocese of Malakal.
Meeting with the South Sudan Ecumenical Council
In the afternoon, Bishop Gallagher met with representatives of the World Council of Churches of South Sudan and representatives of civil society.
In particular, they discussed the contribution of Christian Churches in the process of national reconciliation.
Holy Mass at the Cathedral
On December 23, in Juba Cathedral, the Secretary for Relations with the States presided over a mass in the presence of the President of the Republic. He encouraged the faithful to live the mystery of Christmas in the constant search for unity, charity and forgiveness.
After the Eucharistic celebration, Bishop Gallagher met the clergy and men and women religious of South Sudan. Later he visited the House of Saint Clare for the orphans of Juba, where he presented a gift from the Holy Father.
Subsequently, the Secretary of State Relations left South Sudan to return to the Vatican.