The Holy See

Apostolic Journey to South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo

South Sudan, February 5th, 2023, (Vatican News). Last Sunday, Pope Francis departed from Juba aboard the papal plane bound for Rome, marking the conclusion of his 6-day Apostolic Journey to South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. “You are in my heart, you are in our hearts, you are in the hearts of Christians around the world! Never lose hope. And lose no opportunity to build peace.” Those words of encouragement were the final public comments which Pope Francis spoke on South Sudanese soil at the end of his 40th Apostolic Journey abroad.

Overarching call to peace. Over the six days of his journey, Pope Francis has sought to bring a message of consolation and hope for the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan. He spoke forcefully and frequently about the need for every person to foster peace in their own lives and in their nations. Though each speech was destined for a different audience, Pope Francis laced them together with an exhortation to cease all violence in the two nations, reinforcing his public words with gestures of closeness.

Turning message into action. Huge crowds turned out for his public Masses: over a million people celebrated with him in Congo’s capital, Kinshasa, and some 100,000-faithful gathered with him in Juba, around a fifth of the population of South Sudan’s capital. Before his departure, the Pope left a message of hope and a call for the people of South Sudan to remain together and to strive toward peace. “It is only by caring about our brothers and sisters that we can really realize this peace.” The papal plane departed from Juba’s International Airport at 11:56 AM local time, carrying the Pope and over 70 journalists for the return trip to Rome.

An article based on Vatican News

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