|The newly elevated South Sudanese Cardinal returned to his Metropolitan See from Rome with a call to togetherness, emphasizing the need to invoke and rely upon God’s graces for lasting peace in the world’s newest country.
Addressing reporters at the Juba International Airport (JIA) on Monday, Oct. 30 after his arrival from Rome, Cardinal Stephen Ameyu Martin Mulla said, “Let us work together for peace; not (only) a peace for the silencing of weapons, but (also) a peace of Christ that brings each of us together.”
While the past has been marked by “bloodshed,” he noted, “God is opening a new page for us,” he added.
The South Sudanese cardinal called for the practice of love and forgiveness “from the bottom of my heart” and explained, “It is only forgiveness that makes us mature. It is only forgiveness that makes our Church strong.”
“We cannot build unity without love; we can build it together. Let us love one another,” he stressed, adding, “It is love and faith in Jesus Christ that unites us.”
The cardinal, who was among 364 voting delegates at the 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops Oct. 4-29, called for cooperation between the government of South Sudan and the Church.
“The Church and the government can work together to complement each other,” Cardinal Mulla said during the Oct. 30 press conference at the JIA, and thanked the South Sudanese authorities for being part of the delegation that was at the airport to receive him.
In reference to his call for church-state collaboration, he continued: “There are areas where we can participate together: in education, in building peace, and in all other fields. We can work together to build this country; one person alone cannot do the job.”
The newly appointed cardinal, whose move from the Diocese of Torit to the Archdiocese of Juba in December 2019 has met resistance from some clergy and laity, recalled the cultural diversity of South Sudan and stressed the need for unity in diversity to achieve development.
“We are 64 tribes. God has entrusted us with this nation and we must build it together,” he said.
He challenged the nation’s youth to strive to “make a difference” in the growth of the church and society.
“We can bring peace to this country,” he said, adding, “Throw away the weapons that kill your brothers and sisters and live the love of God that unites us all.”
Cardinal Mulla is the first ever cardinal from South Sudan and the second South Sudanese cardinal after 82-year-old Cardinal Gabriel Zubeir Wako, who was elevated to the rank in October 2003 while serving as archbishop of the Sudanese archdiocese of Khartoum.
Speaking after the Consistory, Cardinal Mulla said his elevation to cardinal is a “recognition of the Catholic Church and the faith of the people of South Sudan in the universal Catholic Church.”
“Being a cardinal is an eye-opener and proof to the world that South Sudan believes in God and deserves recognition at the top of the Church,” he said, and added, “This cardinal’s office is not just for one person, but for all of us in South Sudan.”
Credits to: ACIAFRICA
02 November 2023
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