Pope Francis’ ‘pilgrimage of peace’ to Africa concludes

Pope Francis concluded the Africa tour after his visit to South Sudan. The head of the Catholic Church’s visit to the country was the first since it gained independence in 2011 after it broke away from Muslim-majority Sudan.

The Mass in Juba, attended by approximately 100,000 people, was the last point of his visit to Africa, during which the Pope promoted forgiveness for past wrongs, reconciliation, and peace.

Before his departure, the pope had a short farewell address and thanked the people of South Sudan for the affection they showed him. The pope has had a longstanding interest in South Sudan. In one of the most remarkable gestures of his papacy, he knelt to kiss the feet of the country's previously warring leaders during a meeting at the Vatican in 2019.


The “pilgrimage of peace” was the first time in Christian history that leaders of the Catholic, Anglican, and Reformed traditions conducted a joint foreign visit.

The three left the South Sudanese capital Juba on the same flight and are expected to land in Rome at around 5:15 p.m. CET.

South Sudan

Predominantly Christian South Sudan broke away from Muslim Sudan in 2011, but two years later plunged into a civil war that killed 400,000 people.

Despite a 2018 peace deal between the two main antagonists, bouts of fighting have continued to kill and displace large numbers of civilians.