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South Sudan Welcomes News of Pope Francis Recovery

FILE- South Sudan's President Salva Kiir receives Pope Francis at the Presidential Palace during Pope's apostolic journey, in Juba, South Sudan, February 3, 2023. REUTERS/Jok Solomun

South Sudanese primate and Archbishop of the Anglican Church, Rev. Justin Badi Arama told VOA Thursday the country wished Pope Francis a quick recovery, following his hospitalization Wednesday, for a respiratory infection.

Christians around the world are praying for the speedy recovery of Pope Francis who has been hospitalization since Wednesday, for a respiratory infection.

In a statement published by the Holy See Press Office, Vatican spokesperson Matteo Bruni said the 86-year-old pontiff had a restful night.

“His Holiness Pope Francis rested well during the night,” Bruni’s statement read, adding, “the clinical picture is progressively improving and he is continuing with the planned treatments. This morning after breakfast, he read some newspapers and resumed work.”

Bruni further elaborated that he did some work Thursday.

Archbishop Arama said Christians across South Sudan have been waiting to hear updates on Pope Francis' recovery.

''We were a bit worried to receive the news of the Holy Father that he was unwell and was admitted in the hospital, and surely we are grateful that we are hearing about his recovery,” said the archbishop.

He added, “it is our prayer as the Episcopal church of South Sudan that the lord stretches his healing hands upon the Holy Father and gives him quick recovery.''

Acknowledging the outpouring of love for the pope from around the world, Bruni wrote, “Pope Francis is touched by the many messages received and expressed his gratitude for the closeness and prayer.”

Pope Francis is currently hospitalized at Gemelli Hospital, the same place where two-years-ago he spent 10-days recovering from an operation on his colon after suffering from diverticulitis. In June last year, Francis cancelled his trip to South Sudan due to knee problems.

He finally visited Juba in February.

Arama said Christians across South Sudan were happy to finally see His Holiness in person.

''We are grateful for his visit to South Sudan together with the Archbishop of Canterbury and the moderator of the Presbyterian church to encourage the people of South Sudan and to pray with the people of South Sudan for peace and stability,” Arama said.

“May God bless them and may God particularly be with his servant, the Holy Father,'' Arama told VOA's South Sudan in Focus radio program.

The pope’s illness has raised questions over his presence for Holy Week and Easter, starting next week..

U.S. President Joe Biden who is Catholic, urged attendees at a White House reception to pray for the pontiff