By Arnold Neliba
VATICAN CITY, JUNE 17, 2022 (CISA)-Following the postponement of the Pope’s visit to Africa scheduled for July 2 and 7, the governments and Church of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and South Sudan have expressed solidarity with the Holy Father promising to continue in their preparation for his visit.
“On behalf of the Congolese people, the Government wishes Pope Francis a speedy recovery. We want to reassure him that the Democratic Republic of Congo will continue to firmly await his visit, which was at the invitation of His Excellency the President of the Republic, Felix Tshilombo Tshisekedi. The Pope was scheduled to come under the banner of peace and reconciliation in Jesus Christ,” reads a statement released by Hon. Patrick Muyaya Katembwe, Government spokesperson and Minister of Communication and Media of DRC.
While wishing him a speedy recovery on the behalf of the people in DRC and its government, he said that they continue to await firmly the new dates for his visit.
According to Fr Donatien Nshole, Secretary-General of the National Episcopal Conference of the Democratic Republic of Congo (CENCO) “We are humans, so it is normal that he cannot interrupt his therapy.” He hopes that the visit will be rescheduled soon.
In South Sudan where Pope Francis, His Grace Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Rt. Rev Jim Wallace, Moderator of the Church of Scotland were to undertake a “pilgrimage of Peace” from July 5 to 7 guided by the motto “I pray that all be one” the Church has announced that they will continue preparing for the apostolic visit.
“This announcement does not prevent us from preparing, because the Holy Father is postponing his visit, he is not cancelling it,” the Archbishop Stephen Ameyu of Juba said asking the people of South Sudan to accept the situation.
On June 10, Matteo Bruni the Director of the Holy See Press Office announced that Pope Francis postponed to a later date his Apostolic journey to the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan at the request of his doctors.