Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Pope Mass in South Sudan: Pontiff urges people to reject ‘venom of hatred’

  • Published
    20 hours ago

About sharing

Image source, AFP

Pope Francis has ended his peace pilgrimage to South Sudan by celebrating an open air mass attended by tens of thousands in Juba.

He urged the congregation to reject what he called the “venom of hatred”, and told them to lose no opportunity to build peace.

And he pleaded with the country’s leaders to focus on ending conflict.

Before leaving, he told the crowd: “Dear brothers and sisters, I return to Rome with you even closer to my heart.”


Excited Catholics, some who camped overnight for the Mass, told Reuters it was a joyful moment.

“To this moment I do not sleep, I was very excited,” Jovana Buyom said.

“We are really very happy with the coming of Pope because he will give us the message of peace, we can unite as South Sudanese people,” Juaj Bol Ayuel said.

Pope Francis surrounded by crowds

Image source, Reuters

People performing at the Pope's Mass

Image source, Reuters

The Mass, which took place at the John Garang Mausoleum in front of an audience of 70,000 according to estimates, was filled with cheerful worshippers waiving flags and deep in prayer.

The religious ceremony fell on the last day of the Pope’s visit to South Sudan, which was his first to the country.

Since it got independence in 2011, the country has been wracked by civil war after the president fell out with his then vice president in 2013.

Man who appears to be praying in a crowd of people

Image source, AFP

Despite a peace deal in 2018, violence driven by ethnic tensions has continued – more than 400,000 people are thought to have died as a result of the conflict.

At least 20 people were killed in a cattle raid on the eve of the religious leaders’ visit.

Women who appear to be singing at the Mass

Image source, AFP

The Pope, who visited the country alongside other Christian leaders – the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, Rev Iain Greenshields – has been on a peace mission and pleaded with South Sudanese clergy to raise their voices against injustice on Saturday.

Woman walking with a shawl with pictures of Pope Francis and Justin Welby on it.

Image source, Getty Images

A large crowd with South Sudanese flags

Image source, Reuters

Children wait for the arrival of the Pope

Image source, Reuters

He also told them that they cannot remain neutral against injustice: “If we want to be pastors who intercede, we cannot remain neutral before the pain caused by acts of injustice and violence. To violate the fundamental rights of any woman or man is an offence against Christ.”

Clergy dresses in white

Image source, Reuters

A child looking on amongst a crowd at the Mass.

Image source, AFP

People kneeling down in front of a stage during the Mass

Image source, Getty Images

The Pope had a similar message of peace and reconciliation when he visited the Democratic Republic of Congo earlier this week.

Read more about Pope Francis’ trip to Africa:

This video can not be played

To play this video you need to enable JavaScript in your browser.

Around the BBC

You May Also Like

European Union

After a Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in Ukraine was detained, U.N. nuclear watchdog chief Rafael Grossi announced that the man responsible has been released....


For many years we have seen how the Soft Power used by the Kremlin works exclusively through culture, exhibitions, musical groups presentations, etc. It...


The Azerbaijani diaspora, which numbers some 60 million people around the world has entered the virtual social media battle being waged between Armenia and...

United States

The body of the stone dealer had been decaying for several weeks by the time it was found in an Upper West Side apartment....