VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis has rescheduled his delayed journey to Congo and South Sudan for Jan. 31-Feb. 5, chopping out a cease in Congo’s conflict-ravaged east however fulfilling a years-long want to accompany different Christian leaders to the younger nation of South Sudan.
The Vatican on Thursday printed the itinerary of the journey, which had initially been scheduled for final July however was postponed as a result of Francis was present process remedy for his strained knee ligaments. The 85-year-old Francis continues to be utilizing a wheelchair, however has made different overseas journeys within the meantime, suggesting that he can undergo with even difficult itineraries.
“That is what now we have been praying for, and I’m glad it’s lastly taking place,” mentioned Richard Sultan, an entrepreneur in Juba.
The brand new itinerary roughly matches the unique, with one important exception: Initially the pope had deliberate to have a good time Mass within the japanese Congolese metropolis of Goma en path to South Sudan. Now, Francis will meet within the Congolese capital, Kinshasa, with a delegation of trustworthy and “victims” from Goma.
Tens of hundreds of Congolese have been displaced, with many heading towards Goma, amid renewed clashes between authorities troopers and M23 rebels in Congo’s mineral-rich east. A cease-fire to finish the newest spherical of preventing was supposed to enter impact final week.
After the Congo leg of the journey Jan. 31-Feb. 2, Francis will likely be joined by the archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and the moderator of the Basic Meeting of the Church of Scotland, the Proper Rev. Iain Greenshields, for a first-ever ecumenical peace journey by the leaders of the three Christian church buildings, to Juba, South Sudan, from Feb. 3-5.
There, the three will have a good time an ecumenical prayer service collectively, and meet with displaced South Sudanese.
The go to seeks to spice up a 2018 settlement geared toward ending civil warfare. The pope’s journey has been within the works for years, however was repeatedly postponed due to the safety state of affairs on the bottom, after which in July due to Francis’ well being.
“The approaching of Pope Francis will elevate our resilience because the folks of South Sudan,” Juba resident Sarah Garang, 30.
Barnabas Marial Benjamin, the nation’s minister of presidential affairs, mentioned the go to was a vital piece of excellent information as South Sudan seeks worldwide assist whereas attempting to consolidate peace and dealing with humanitarian and local weather change-related challenges.
“That is nice information for the federal government and the folks of South Sudan,” Benjamin mentioned.
Archbishop Dr. Justin Badi, head of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan, requested for prayers for the go to, whereas Welby and Greenshields each welcomed phrase that the journey would go forward.
“I’m genuinely humbled on the alternative to assist our brothers and sisters in South Sudan within the seek for peace, reconciliation and justice,” Greenshields mentioned in an announcement, which famous that the Church of Scotland had been invited to “characterize the Presbyterian household on account of its robust partnership with the Presbyterian Church of South Sudan.”
Welby, for his half, added that each one three leaders shared a need to “stand in solidarity” with the folks of South Sudan.
In certainly one of his extra memorable gestures, Francis in 2019 invited South Sudan’s rival leaders to the Vatican for a prayer and knelt down and kissed their toes in begging them to make peace.
Machol contributed from Juba, South Sudan: