In 2017, Pope Francis plans to visit Portugal, India, and Bangladesh. However, it's now time to add another voyage to these possibilities: South Sudan.
The pope revealed his intention during this visit to the Anglican Parish of All Saints.
"Why? Because the Anglican, Presbyterian, and Catholic bishops came to me, the three of them said to me together: 'Please, come to South Sudan, just one day. But do not come alone, come with Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury.'"
It was during the most recent General Audience that the pope supported South Sudan's request for assistance from humanitarian agencies. They warn that the country is suffering from a food crisis that could affect five million people by July.
During this visit to the Anglican parish, the pope said that it will not be easy to travel because the situation is complicated. Hunger and war are massacring the country, but he revealed that the push demonstrated by these three bishops have outweighed the difficulties.
"From them, a young Church, came this creative idea. And we are thinking if it can be done, if the situation is too difficult there. But we have to do it, because they, the three together, want peace and they work together for peace."
During this ecumenical meeting at the parish, the pope answered several questions from the Anglicans.
"Let us encourage one another to become disciples, ever more faithful to Jesus, ever more free from the respective prejudices of the past, and ever more eager to pray with and for others. A good sign of this will is the "twinning” between your parish of All Saints and the Catholic Parish of All Saints.”
The visit was made to remember the 200th anniversary of the parish, and the 50th anniversary of the dialogue between Catholics and Anglicans. Throughout the meeting, there were continuous displays of reciprocal respect and affection.
The pope blessed this image of Jesus, and also received gifts from the families present, such as a cake and a jam.