Pope Francis who ended his six-day trip to Africa on Sunday urged for peace in the country as he delivered mass to an estimated 100,000 people gathered in the South Sudan city of Juba.
According to reports, Francis, who spent last week in South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, departed from Juba’s International Airport on his papal plane around 11:56 a.m. to return to Rome.
The pope in his message to those gathered in Juba urged for peace in South Sudan “and in the entire African continent, where so many of our brothers and sisters in the faith experience persecution and danger, where great numbers of people suffer from conflict exploitation, exploitation, and poverty.”
Francis also urged people in the country to reject what he called the “venom of hatred” while telling the country’s leaders to focus on ending conflict.
As a result of the colonial rule and its new independence, Sudan suffered through a couple of coups and civil war over the next 20 years between the country’s north and south regions. That civil war ended with the establishment of South Sudan as an autonomous region of Sudan.
The pope concluded his message to South Sudan with encouragement to “never lose hope and lose no opportunity to build peace”.