Pope Francis’ “kiss for peace” keep hopes alive, says Yakani

Pope Francis’ “kiss for peace” keep hopes alive, says Yakani
Pope Francis bending to kiss the foot of President Salva Kiir when he visited the Vatican in 2019. [Photo: Vatican]

The Executive Director of Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO), Edmund Yakani, said an initiative of “Remember the Kiss of the Pope for Peace” will continue as a strategy to keep Pope Francis’ and other spiritual leaders’ wishes alive until they visit South Sudan in the future.

In a remarkable display of humility, Pope Francis knelt and kissed the feet of South Sudan’s leaders – President Salva Kiir and his political rival, Riek Machar, in April 2019, before encouraging the duo to strengthen the country’s flagging peace process.

According to Yakani, the peace program will continue to raise awareness in South Sudan about the power of the Pontiff.

“Since communication on the postponement indicates that the interest of the global spiritual leaders will visit South Sudan at a later date to be determined. This message made our hopes still alive since in the future we will be expecting the visit of His Holiness Pope Francis and other spiritual leaders. “

“The global spiritual leaders’ visit will motivate our political elites to offer a chance for peace to prevail through the implementation of R-ARCSS and a genuine commitment to using the Rome Peace Process for the realization of lasting and durable peace and stability in South Sudan,” Yakani said.

Pope Francis’ Apostolic Journey to the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan, which was originally set for early July 2022, has been postponed until a later date to be determined, according to the Holy See Press Office. The Holy Father was compelled to postpone at the request of his doctors, to avoid jeopardizing the results of the knee therapy he is undergoing.

The pope’s visit was cancelled just days after the itinerary for his trip to South Sudan was publicized. He will arrive in Juba on July 5 at 3:00 p.m., according to the program schedule, and will meet with senior government officials, civil society leaders, religious leaders, and diplomats.

On the 6th and 7th of July, he was also scheduled to hold Ecumenical Prayer and Holy Mass at the Dr John Garang Mausoleum in Juba before departing for Rome.

Following the announcement of the pope’s visit to the country, the church in South Sudan formed a four-man committee to work with the government committee on the spiritual leaders’ visit preparations.

In 2019, Pope Francis and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby announced a trip to South Sudan, but it was postponed due to security concerns.