By Charles Igwe
Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Secretary of State, led a Mass in Malakal, South Sudan, urging individuals to reject thoughts of revenge and embrace humble service as a means to achieve peace. On his second day in the country, Cardinal Parolin celebrated Mass in the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Malakal, located in Upper Nile State. His visit to South Sudan is part of a 4-day mission aimed at promoting peace efforts, a cause endorsed by Pope Francis and the local Church for several years.
During the Mass held on the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Cardinal Parolin conveyed Pope Francis’ greetings and closeness to the people of South Sudan. He emphasized that the Holy Father cherishes memories of his own visit to the country in February and holds its people, challenges, wounds, aspirations, and hopes in his heart.
Cardinal Parolin’s visit is an expression of the unity and support of the universal Church, aimed at reminding South Sudanese Christians that they are never alone, as they are all united in Christ. He highlighted the importance of tending to those who suffer, emphasizing that those who endure hardship deserve attention, care, and love from the entire Church community.
Reflecting on the global conflicts, including South Sudan’s internal strife, the Cardinal lamented the impact of revenge-driven conflicts that plague various parts of the world. He underlined the fleeting nature of power for those who oppress others, emphasizing that their pride, weapons, and wealth cannot ensure lasting dominance.
In the face of adversity, Cardinal Parolin encouraged the people of South Sudan to find inspiration in Christ and His mother, Mary. He stressed that faith, hope, and humble acts of service in pursuit of peace are the guiding principles of the Gospel, reminiscent of Mary’s journey that led her to a place of honor beside her Son, Jesus.
Later in his visit, Cardinal Parolin was scheduled to visit a reception center for refugees returning from Sudan. Malakal, the location of his Mass, has recently experienced intercommunal violence causing casualties and property damage. The Cardinal’s visit aimed to bring solace and support to those affected by such conflicts within the region.