Pope Francis to visit Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan in July
Pope Francis kneels at the feet of South Sudan President Salva Kiir April 11, 2019, at the end of a two-day retreat at the Vatican for African nations political leaders. The pope begged them to give peace a chance. At right is Vice President Riek Machar. VATICAN MEDIA
By Catholic News Agency
March 3, 2022
VATICAN— Pope Francis will visit the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan in July, the Vatican announced on Thursday.
“At the invitation of their respective Heads of State and Bishops, His Holiness Pope Francis will make an Apostolic Journey to the Democratic Republic of Congo from 2 to 5 July 2022, visiting the cities of Kinshasa and Goma and to South Sudan from 5 to 7 July, visiting Juba,” the Holy See press office said on March 3.
“The program and further details of the Journey will be announced in due course.”
The news follows the Vatican’s announcement last month that the pope will travel to Malta on April 2-3.
Pope Francis will become the first pope to visit South Sudan, which became the world’s newest country when it declared independence from the Republic of the Sudan on July 9, 2011. The nation in east-central Africa has a population of 11 million people, around 37% of whom are Catholic.
In 2019, Pope Francis brought South Sudanese leaders together at the Vatican for a “spiritual retreat” aimed at resolving their differences.
The archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, is expected to join the pope in the capital Juba, along with the moderator of the Church of Scotland, Jim Wallace.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a Central African country of around 90 million people, roughly half of whom are Catholic. Pope John Paul II visited the country, then known as Zaire, in 1980.
In 2019, Pope Francis celebrated Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica for Congolese immigrants, marking the 25th anniversary of the foundation of the Congolese Catholic Chaplaincy of Rome.
In the preface to a book published in 2020, he said that “The experience of the Congolese rite of the celebration of Mass can serve as an example and model for other cultures.”
The Zaire Use is an inculturated Mass formally approved in 1988 for the dioceses of what was then known as the Republic of Zaire. It is the only inculturated Eucharistic celebration approved after the Second Vatican Council.
Pope Francis was forced to cancel two recent public engagements due to knee pain: a daylong trip to the Italian city of Florence and an Ash Wednesday Mass at Rome’s Basilica of Santa Sabina. The 85-year-old spent 10 days in hospital in July 2021 after undergoing colon surgery.
He has made two previous trips to sub-Saharan Africa. His first, on Nov. 25-30, 2015, took him to Kenya, Uganda, and the Central African Republic.
In his second, he visited Mozambique, Madagascar, and Mauritius on Sept. 4-10, 2019.
DONATE TO CBCP NEWS
CBCPNews is a church-based news agency operated by the Media Office of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines. This apostolate aims at helping the work of the new evangelization through the news media. This is non-commercial and non-profit. That being the case, it totally depends on generosity of its readers and supporters.
Should you wish to donate kindly press the donate button. Thank you.