Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the second-ranking official in the Vatican under Pope Francis, undertook a visit to the African nation of South Sudan on August 14th. The purpose of his visit was to advance the peace initiatives of the pontiff in a nation that has been deeply entangled in a violent civil conflict. Parolin, who serves as the Vatican’s secretary of state, extended an invitation to the citizens of South Sudan, urging them to adopt the ethos of peace and conciliation. His aim is to foster the creation of a harmonious society within the country. His endeavors have been supported by the Community of St. Egidio, a lay-led Catholic movement in Rome.
Church Leaders reports:
VATICAN CITY (RNS) — Pope Francis’ No. 2 official at the Vatican, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, visited the African nation of South Sudan on Monday (Aug. 14) to promote the pontiff’s peace efforts in a country that has been embroiled in a bloody civil war.
Parolin landed in the capital of Juba, where he met with President Salva Kiir and his foreign minister, Deng Dau Deng, to bring “a message of goodwill from Pope Francis.” The cardinal also met with the opposition leader, Vice President Riek Machar, and the archbishop emeritus of Khartoum, Cardinal Gabriel Zubeir Wako.
Parolin, who is the Vatican secretary of state, “invited the people of South Sudan to embrace the spirit of peace and reconciliation in order to build a harmonious society in the country.”
His efforts have been aided by the Community of St. Egidio, a Catholic lay-led movement based in Rome that has become a fundamental ally of Pope Francis in international diplomacy issues, from helping immigrants travel via legal and humanitarian corridors to negotiating peace talks.
On Tuesday, Parolin visited Malakal, a town in the Upper Nile that has been at the center of the war and has been alternatively under the control of one faction or the other in the conflict. The city has also suffered natural disasters, including flooding. In his homily at the Cathedral of St. Joseph, Parolin reassured locals, many of them displaced by the war, of the pope’s concern for them and warned against “the plague of revenge that is destroying their communities.”
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