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Pope says Congo and S Sudan trip being planned for February

Pope Francis blesses the faithful

Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA

I.Media for Aleteia - published on 11/02/22

After his knee caused a cancellation last July (and possibly the violence in the region as well), Francis is hoping to get Africa back on his calendar.

Pope Francis confirmed that a trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and South Sudan “in early February” 2023 is being prepared, during an online conference with African students broadcast on November 1, 2022. He made a reassurance about his health, which was the reason for the cancellation of the trip to these two countries that was planned for early last July.

The Pope was participating in “Building Bridges across Africa,” an online synodal meeting with African university students organized by the Pan-African Network for Theology and Catholic Pastoral Care, in collaboration with the Pontifical Commission for Latin America. During the discussion, a student from the DRC, speaking about the difficulties faced by Congolese women, asked the Pontiff if he was planning to come to her country, expressing sadness over the cancellation of the trip last July.

“It is true that I had to cancel my trip because my doctor had forbidden me to do so at the time,” the head of the Catholic Church replied. At the time, he said he suffered a fractured knee.

He assured his interlocutor that he was now able to walk, showing her the cane he has been using regularly for several weeks to move around inside the Vatican, without having to use a wheelchair.

“If all goes well, at the beginning of February, I might be able to come and see you and go to South Sudan as well,” Pope Francis said.

He confided that he had first considered coming as early as January 2023, but that the DRC ambassador had advised him against it because of the climate. The month of February was then chosen: “We are preparing this trip, so I will come to see you.”

Can he go safely?

At the time of the cancellation of the trip last July, information received by I.MEDIA suggested that the low level of security was at least part of the reason that the Vatican postponed the trip.

According to our latest information, the Pope would still like to honor his stop in the east of the DRC, in the city of Goma, although the region of North Kivu, of which it is the capital, is still affected by violence. However, it is the situation in South Sudan, recently affected by serious unrest, that is now causing concern.

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AfricaPope Francis
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