On the last day of his week-long visit to South Sudan, Cardinal Michael Czerny, Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, blessed a boat named after St. Josephine Bakhita, the patron saint of human trafficking victims. This boat will serve migrants forced to cross the Nile.
The boat represents a symbol of a new life on “more peaceful waters,” leaving behind hatred, violence, revenge, and revendications. The local Caritas will use this wooden and iron boat to transport refugees from neighbouring Sudan. The North African country has been ruined by a ten-month conflict that has triggered a humanitarian emergency of enormous proportions, with 25 million people in need of assistance and protection, according to UN estimates.
This boat will help people fleeing the country cross the vast river rife with dangers and obstacles. It will sail from the Renk border to Malakal. “It will be a boat that leaves the storm of conflict, violence, hatred, and vengeance behind, and sails on more peaceful waters where people can live together as brothers and sisters,” Cardinal Czerny said with visible emotion during the ceremony in Juba port.
This was the last act performed by the Cardinal of a journey that began on February 2, to reiterate the Holy Father’s appeal for peace, a year after the ecumenical “pilgrimage” that the Pope himself undertook together with the Anglican Primate Justin Welby, and the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, Iain Greenshields.