Home World News Despite his mobility problems, Pope Francis travels to South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Despite his mobility problems, Pope Francis travels to South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo

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Despite his mobility problems, Pope Francis travels to South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Despite his mobility problems, Pope Francis travels to South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo

The Pope kisses the feet of the president of South Sudan, at a meeting at the Vatican with authorities from that country, in 2019. Photo: Reuters file

Despite his mobility problems, the Pope decided to confirm travel to the two countries in Africa between July 2 and 7 and prepared the bags in which he added the wheelchair and cane as he would need to use them in Democratic Republic of the Congo at South Sudan.

In the last country in Africa, he had to cancel two previous attempts because of Security issues.

The decision raises questions because the apostolic tour promises a lot of effort, although wheelchair use is expected and two hours a day of physical therapy of orthopedic experts who also perform infiltrations, should be a month put it in condition to face the test.

Pope Francis will travel to Africa between July 2 and 7. Photo: EFE

Pope Francis will travel to Africa between July 2 and 7. Photo: EFE

Thousands of kilometers and five flights

Some Vatican officials they frowned because of reading the works of the apostolic tour one notices “that diligent efforts”, According to a Vatican source.

The journey is thousands of kilometersfive different plane flights, approximately twenty speeches, dozens of meetings, masses and dialogues with the leaders of the DRC and South Sudan.

The Pope will live on Kinshasa and Jubathe two capitals, where he must often use a wheelchair and cane to meet promises.

One of his visits to the Republic of Congo was on the Rubber dangerous zonewhere guerrillas and conflicting groups were mobilizing, where he would celebrate a mass in the town of Rutshuru.

There was the crossroads where on February 22 last year they were shot to death the italian ambassador in the DRC, Luca Attanasio, and the police who escorted him.

The diplomat is traveling to mediate as much as possible between groups and provide assistance. The group, with a weak escort, was ambushed by one of the guerrillas.

The place where the Italian ambassador to the DRC was killed.  Photo: AFP/ Alexis Huguet

The place where the Italian ambassador to the DRC was killed. Photo: AFP/ Alexis Huguet

the preparation is carried out

One nun, Antonina Lo Schiavo, said by phone from Goma that “this is where the preparations began”.

“The joy of the people for the visit of the Holy Father is great,” added Antonina, telling anyone to ask about the alternatives experienced by the great Congo, which was once a Belgian colony and is now an independent neocolonialized.

There were reports that fighting continued in North Kivu and “people were fleeing to Uganda”. The Goma region is experiencing yet another destabilization. The Pope will come here, who in 2017 had to suspend his visit to Congo due to internal political and security problems.

From Kinshasa, an Italian Comboni missionary said over the phone that “We have been waiting six years for the visit of the Pope and we hope that your presence in Goma can mobilize things and draw global attention to what is happening in eastern Congo. ” The International Criminal Court is considering initiating the process for the killings.

Francisco will meet with the relatives of the victims.

The missionary of Comboni, Padre Gaspare, concluded that “we pray that the presence of the Pope stimulate the opening of a process of the Criminal Court in The Hague.

The Pope will begin his Ecumenical Pilgrimage of Peace on the morning of July 2. He will fly six and a half hours on a special plane from Rome to Kinshasa, the Congolese capital. There he will be officially received at the Country Palace by President Félix Tshisekedi and give his first speech.

The day will end with a private meeting at the Vatican embassy included the Jesuits present in the country.

On Sunday the 3rd, the Argentine Pope will hold a field mass at the Ndolo airport in the capital and at the end he will recite the Angelus. At six o’clock in the evening he will meet with bishops, religious and seminarian priests in the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Congo.

Monday is coming the critical moment of the journey with a flight to the extreme northeast of the country. He will arrive in Goma, the capital of North Kivu, and celebrate a field mass at noon in Campo de Kibumba, the village where the Italian ambassador was killed. In the afternoon he will travel to Beni and at five o’clock he will meet the families and survivors of the violence in Beni.

Beni was the second city in the Kivu region, to suffer Ebola epidemics and natural disastersbut it is famous for massacres of civilians and other atrocities committed by militias, guerrillas and the military.

Amid the imposition of security measures, Francis will stay for an hour at the Reception Center for victims of violence in the diocese of Goma and will later return to the capital Kinshasa.

On Tuesday the 5th, the Pope will meet with youth and catechists at Martyrs ’Stadium.

Francis with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, at a meeting with political leaders from South Sudan at the Vatican, in 2019. Photo: EFE

Francis with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, at a meeting with political leaders from South Sudan at the Vatican, in 2019. Photo: EFE

He will then undertake his Ecumenical Peace Pilgrimage to South Sudan, accompanied by the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and the moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, Iain Greenshields.

South Sudan is one of the countries most insecure in the world through the ongoing wars that divided the country. In 2019, when he had to cancel a trip, Jorge Bergoglio promised that he would visit “one day” those waiting for him in this country, including a strong presence of faithful Christians.

In the capital Juba, the first visit was to President Salva Kiir Mayardi, who in 2019 visited the Pope in the Vatican accompanied by political and religious authorities. Together with Francisco they made an ecumenical spiritual retreat.

In meetings with local authorities and personalities, the Pope will give a speech.

On Wednesday the 6th he will visit an internal refugee camp and then he would meet with the Jesuits of the country. At five o’clock in the afternoon he will visit the Cathedral of Santa Teresa to meet with bishops and priests. He will then attend an ecumenical prayer at the memorial dedicated to John Garang, leader of the People’s Liberation Movement and the country’s first president.

The Pope will return to the Mausoleum on the morning of Thursday the 7th to celebrate the last mass of the trip and then head to the airport. His plane is expected to land in Rome at exactly 6:05 pm, five hours earlier in Argentina.

Vatican correspondent

ap

Source: Clarin

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