WASHINGTON—When South Sudan marks its independence and becomes the world’s newest nation July 9, Bishop John H. Ricard, SSJ, bishop emeritus of Pensacola-Tallahassee, Florida, will be there to represent the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
For decades the USCCB has worked to support the Church and people of Sudan who suffered great hardship during their long civil war and suffer even now from continuing conflicts, especially in Darfur and the border regions between north and south.
Coming just five days after the United States celebrated gaining its own independence 235 years ago, Bishop Ricard, who has visited Sudan many times, will present to the bishops of Sudan replicas of three historic documents that enshrine the principles and ideals of U.S. independence: the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, and the Bill of Rights. They are being offered as symbols of human solidarity and hope.
Bishop Howard J. Hubbard of Albany, New York, chairman of the USCCB Committee on International Justice and Peace, who visited north and south Sudan last summer, commented on Bishop Ricard’s historic trip.
“It is our sincere hope and prayer that the people of the Republic of South Sudan will enjoy freedom and prosperity. We ask God to guide them as they strive to build a new nation on a foundation of respect for human rights and religious freedom,” Bishop Hubbard said. “We are mindful of the tremendous sacrifices and loss of life that led to independence and of the continuing suffering in the region. As South Sudan becomes independent, we implore the nations and peoples of the region to work together to resolve their differences so that everyone can enjoy lasting peace and human rights. We pledge the continued solidarity of our Conference of Bishops with the Church in South Sudan, Sudan, and the region.”
Keywords: Sudan, South Sudan, independence, International Justice and Peace, Bishop John H. Ricard, Bishop Howard J. Hubbard, Darfur, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
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