Pope, unable to go to Congo, embraces Congolese in Rome

Pope, unable to go to Congo, embraces Congolese in Rome

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis greeted members of the Congolese group in Rome, borrowing phrases from their native languages Sunday to want them peace and pleasure throughout an particularly vibrant ceremony at St. Peter’s Basilica.

Francis, 85, was speculated to make a July 2-7 pilgrimage to Congo and South Sudan. However the journey was known as off final month resulting from persistent knee ache that has prompted the pope to make use of a wheelchair or a cane in current weeks.

His itinerary for the since-postponed journey would have had him in Congo on Sunday, celebrating Mass on the airport within the capital, Kinshasa.

As an alternative, some 2,000 Congolese or descendants of individuals from Congo joined the pope in Mass on the Vatican. They clapped when Francis started his homily by talking a couple of phrases in Congo’s languages.

Prayers by the devoted had been recited in Swahili, Lingala, Tshiluba and Kikongo, the nation’s 4 official languages.

“A Christian at all times brings peace,″ Francis mentioned, reflecting the theme of reconciliation he deliberate to string by means of his Africa pilgrimage.

The colourful garments and vibrant singing of the congregants made for a pointy distinction with the usually somber apparel and chants of clergy, nuns and rank-and-file devoted at many basilica ceremonies.

A day earlier, Francis despatched a video message to the individuals and leaders of Congo and South Sudan that exhorted them to forge new paths of reconciliation, peace and growth. He expressed disappointment that he could not journey this month however promised to go to as quickly as attainable.

In his Sunday homily, the pontiff renewed his encouragement.

“Right now, pricey brothers and sisters, allow us to pray for peace and reconciliation” in Congo, Francis mentioned. He described he nation, which is among the world’s poorest regardless of a wealth of pure sources, as “so wounded and exploited.”

The Catholic Church performed a job within the institution of democracy in Congo and has advocated for human rights there. The church deployed about 40,000 election observers to watch the 2019 vote that introduced Felix Tshisekedi to the presidency in what was Congo’s first peaceable, democratic switch of energy since independence from Belgium in 1960.

On the finish of Mass, a nun, Rita Mboshu Kongo, addressed the pontiff in Italian, thanking him for his concern for Africa, wishing him good well being and saying that Congo’s individuals had been ready for him to go to with open arms.

Francis, leaning on his cane, hobbled a couple of steps to his wheelchair, and an aide wheeled him out of the basilica because the devoted waved and sang joyfully.


This model has been up to date to right the spelling of Congo’s capital to Kinshasa.

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