Pope Francis blessed children while visiting a refugee camp on Sunday in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic.Credit…Andrew Medichini/Associated Press
Pope Francis will be visiting the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan in July, Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni announced Thursday.
The 85-year-old Pope is scheduled to visit the capital city of Kinshasa and the eastern province of North Kivu, DRC Congo from July 2 to 5. He will then proceed to South Sudan from July 5 to 7, visiting the capital Juba, according to a statement from the Vatican on Thursday.
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), had been marred by years of Violence from different Rebel groups, which has left thousands displaced in the country.
On November 10, 2021, two UN agencies, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Food Programme (WFP) raised alarm over the growing food crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), calling for an urgent scaling-up of assistance. They warned that without help, widespread and unabated food insecurity could worsen in the coming months.
The Archbishop of Canterbury will join him for the South Sudan leg in the latest ecumenical effort to solidify peace in the young country, according to officials.
The pope, for several years had been wanting to visit South Sudan – a predominantly Christian country – but the trip has been repeatedly postponed due to insecurity and political instability in the African country.
In 2019, Pope Francis hosted South Sudan’s opposing leaders at a Vatican retreat where he knelt and kissed their feet as he urged them not to return to conflict
However, Pope Francis had visited a number of African Countries in the past. He visited Kenya, Uganda and the Central African Republic in 2015 and Mozambique, Mauritius and Madagascar in 2019. Francis also visited Egypt in 2017.