- Jan 19, 2021
Popes often use the holidays to dispatch messages to various countries and to address specific crises, sometimes through their Urbi et Orbi blessings and sometimes through special appeals.
Pope Francis has sent Christmas messages to Lebanon and South Sudan in which he offered comfort to citizens and urged the leaders of each to exert more effort in the quest for peace.
South Sudan has been beset by civil conflict since it gained independence from Sudan in 2011. However, that is not the only challenge it faces: It is one of the country’s most threatened by the effects of climate change.
In a significant move in South Sudan’s peace process, the country’s main opposition group Friday announced their adherence, thanks to the intercession of the Sant’Egidio community, to a 2018 peace deal that until recently they had opposed.
A peace deal between the Sudanese government and rebel groups is “a small step in the long path toward a durable, prosperous peace.”
It’s been a particularly trying year for humanitarian workers, as they face unprecedented hurdles to assist people in pre-existing crises in 54 countries, plus a further nine which have been catapulted into situations of need by the COVID-19 pandemic.