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The Catholic Pilgrims Who Walked 9 Days To See Pope Francis

About 60 Catholic pilgrims are getting better after walking for nine days through South Sudan’s war-torn areas to meet Pope Francis in Juba.

“I’m not as exhausted, but my feet hurt.” “You never tire when the spirit is with you,” As NightRose Falea licked her chapped, parched lips, she whispered.

“For whatever reason, I would not have missed traveling to Juba. To get the Pope’s blessing, we are here. “I have faith that things will improve for our nation with his blessing,” she told the BBC.

The ladies had left Rumbek, which is located around 300 kilometers (190 miles) northwest of Juba, motivated by their faith and feelings of nationalism.

Their goal was to join the Pope in prayer for the world’s youngest country, which has seen unspeakable suffering as a result of violence since gaining independence in 2011.

“We spent the night in the parishes in the centers, where we were after walking for a few hours each day. “It was exhausting yet worthwhile,” Faith Biel stated.

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Dust and happy music filled the air as a caravan of people sang and stomped their feet for the last few kilometers of their journey.

Crowds of people gathered to watch the show. As the dance got more frenetic, some people joined in. Unsure of what to do, others moved aside to make room for the group of white-clad women donning scarves with images of Pope Francis on them.

Despite their clothing being ruined, blisters on their feet, and broken lips, they danced and hopped to celebrate their success.

At St. Theresa’s Catholic Church in Juba, where a welcome party had also started singing and dancing, refreshments were waiting for them.

One traveler, who was crying when she got there, talked about how sad it was that the country had been at war for so long.

The woman, who wished to remain unnamed, stated, “When you have smelt and seen death and hopelessness, then you will hunt for serenity with all the force that you have.”

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“I’ve lost plenty, but along the journey, I encountered love, and we all communicated in the language of peace.” I sincerely hope that we will remain that way even when the Pope departs.

“Since he is a prophet, anything he asks for in his prayers during the coming days while on our soil will come to pass.” There will be changes. “We’ll all be treated as one.”

Many South Sudanese consider the church a sign of hope. Many people who have been displaced by the nation’s wars seek sanctuary there.

Additionally, it has remained a major factor in the social welfare of the populace and provided the majority of them with a sense of community.

Sunday’s Mass will be celebrated by Pope Francis, who will be in the country for three days.

Pope traveled with two other Christian leaders for the first time in history: Rev. Iain Greenshields, Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland, and Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury.

Pope Francis met President Salva Kiir and Vice President Riek Machar in 2019 at the Vatican, where he kissed their feet and acknowledged their fierce political rivalry.

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Even though it did not instantly put an end to the conflict, this move astonished many people.

While that war has since calmed, other local conflicts continue to often end in fatalities; on the day of the Pope’s visit, a livestock raid claimed the lives of more than 20 people.

The arrival of the three religious leaders will be anticipated by millions of South Sudanese, who will be hoping and praying that it would usher in a new era for their beleaguered nation.

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