17 April 2019 - “South Sudanese were left positively stunned as they witnessed Papa Francesco plead on his knees and kiss the feet of politicians of South Sudan. The video and images of the event are circulating television networks, social media and mobile devices of the general public” says Agenzia Fides Sister Elena Balatti, a Combonian missionary, who is in Juba, the capital of South Sudan. Yesterday, 11 April, at the conclusion of the South Sudan political leaders’ spiritual retreat, lead by Domus Sanctae Marthae in Vatican City , Papa Francesco kneeled before them imploring consideration for the future of the new State, to be established 12 May, while kissing the feet of President of the Republic, Salva Kiir Mayardi, and of the Vice Presidents elected, among whom Reik Machar and Rebecca Nyandeng De Mabior.
“The people recognize and immensely appreciate the efforts of the Holy Father, the Bishop and the local Church for everything that they are doing to promote peace in South Sudan” says Sister Elena Balatti. “We were all moved by the Pope’s insistence in reminding the politicians of their duty to the people that are suffering dearly, that have experienced numerous losses, without mentioning those who have had to leave the country. This was the meaning behind the kneeling, he did it in the name of the people of South Sudan. It is a gesture much appreciated by the people here in South Sudan” concludes the missionary (LM) (Agenzia Fides 12/4/2019)