Pope Appeals for Peace, Reconciliation in South Sudan

The heads of the Catholic and Anglican churches sent a special message Wednesday to the people of South Sudan expressing hopes for peace, prosperity and implementation of a peace deal as Christians around the world celebrate the Christmas holiday.In a joint letter, Pope Francis and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby sent prayers for “a renewed commitment to the path of reconciliation and fraternity” among South Sudan’s political leaders.FILE – Pope Francis meets the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby at the end of a two-day spiritual retreat with South Sudan leaders at the Vatican, April 11, 2019.Earlier this month, President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar agreed to form a transitional unity government by a February deadline after they failed to meet two earlier target dates for implementing a 2018 peace deal.Pope Francis is also to give his traditional Christmas address from the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica.In the United States, President Donald Trump is spending the holiday at his Florida resort where on Tuesday he spoke to members of the U.S. military stationed at various places around the world and attended a Christmas Eve dinner along with his wife, Melania.The U.S. first lady also answered calls from children as part of the annual program run by the North American Aerospace Defense Command’s Operation that tracks Santa Claus on his trip around the globe.While the holiday is rooted in Christianity, many people in the United States and other parts of the world celebrate in a non-religious fashion, gathering with family and friends to share a meal and exchange gifts. The Christmas season is a key time for many retailers to earn a large portion of their annual revenue.

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