Answering the Cries of the Forgotten

Beyond Pope’s Visit, Much Work Remains to Alleviate Suffering in South Sudan

The historic visit of Pope Francis to South Sudan in early February brought moral support and inspiration to a people reeling so long from conflict and poverty.

Importantly, the move by the Vatican demonstrated an appreciation for the people of this new and volatile nation, made an express call for peace, and reminded weary citizens of the troubled nation they are not forgotten.

As Colm Flynn of EWTN News expressed in his NCR article, “The Forgotten Souls of South Sudan,” such a visit is merely the first step in a long-term commitment needed to ultimately help this people live in dignity and sufficiency. After the pomp and circumstance has settled, a challenging road still lies ahead for this nation.

Flynn highlights some of the most heartrending sights of his visit: vast numbers of homeless children living alone on the streets of Juba; the plight of orphans in an austere shelter on the outskirts of the capital; the shocking existence of leper colonies in our modern age with people still suffering in unimaginable ways; the corruption even he and his news crew encountered in their travels, and the necessity of armed police escorts accompanying them everywhere they went.

Compounding these scenarios are the climatic conditions that swing from massive floods to devastating droughts; and world political events putting a strain on a deadly food shortage where more than a million people could starve this year.

But despite the dire sights and encounters, Flynn’s report shares stories of hope sprinkled among the images of suffering – stories of organizations like Sudan Relief Fund bringing food, medicine, and shelter to communities. Missionary individuals partnering to save lives at great sacrifice to themselves. Nuns helping orphaned children believe they have value for the first time in their lives. Holistic efforts that are meeting both physical needs and planting seeds of hope for people who desperately need it.

Flynn shared how the government of this country seems unable or unwilling to take up the cause of their people. If help is to be received, he noted, it is left to humanitarian organizations, missionaries, and lay volunteers who refuse to look the other way, to answer the cries of the South Sudanese.

Said Flynn, “Following the visit of Pope Francis, and while the images of him driving through the capital are still fresh in our memory, it’s important we raise awareness of the forgotten souls of South Sudan, and the horrific reality they have to face every single day.”

If you are compelled to help the work of Sudan Relief Fund through donation, go here.

You can also join the Sudan prayer list by going here.