Pope and Archbishop of Canterbury to visit South Sudan together in March

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“It's wonderful to see you. Thank you.”

This is the sixth time they meet in the Vatican. The primate of the Anglican Church visited Pope Francis to introduce him to Archbishop Ian Ernest, the new director of the Anglican center in Rome. It was a cordial meeting in which they discussed the situation of Christians around the world, especially in South Sudan.

Justin Welby brought gifts for the pope. He showed him the results of a project completed by the Anglican church for the Amazon. He told the pope that 100 trees were planted in his name.

Pope Francis gave the archbishop this plaque saying “The desert will turn into a garden.” He immediately said this.

“South Sudan.”

Then Justin Welby explained this.

“We have agreed that we will visit South Sudan in March.”

The trip will take place in 2020, as long as the new government functions by then, in accordance with the peace agreement already in place. The agreement says the new government must include both Salva Kiir and Riek Machar, who started the civil war and now lead the two different sides.

Welby and the pope held their meeting in the same place where this poignant moment was captured last April. It happened during the prayer for peace in South Sudan. Pope Francis fell to his knees and kissed the feet of the two leaders who had taken the country into civil war.

Then the archbishop of Canterbury took interest in this image of the Crucifix of St. Damian, the one that tradition says spoke to St. Francis of Assisi.

The meeting ended with this photo and more gifts. The archbishop of Canterbury's new representative in Rome is an expert on inter-religious dialogue. He worked actively in this field with Catholics from Mauritius. Now he will do the same with the Vatican.

Ángeles Conde

Translation: Claudia Torres

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