Pope Francis arrived in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, starting his 40th international pastoral journey and his fifth visit to Africa.
(Vatican News Network) Pope Francis has arrived in Kinshasa to begin his apostolic journey in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Pope’s special plane arrived at Kinshasa international airport at 2:33 pm local time on January 31, more than 20 minutes earlier than expected. The Pope left Leonardo da Vinci International Airport in Rome at 8:29 in the morning, and there were more than 70 random reporters. This is Pope Francis’ first visit to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, following two visits by Pope John Paul II in 1980 and 1985.
When the Pope got off the plane in a wheelchair, he was warmly welcomed by different groups of people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, raising banners saying “Welcome Pope Francis.” Greetings from the Pope.
The Pope was formally welcomed at the airport and received a welcome ceremony at the Presidential Palace, then he met with Congolese President (Kinshasa) Félix Tshisekedi, and met with civil authorities, civil society and diplomatic missions first speech.
The Pope was originally due to visit the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan in July 2022, but had to postpone his visit due to problems with his knee. However, the Pope still sent the Holy Secretary of State Parolin to visit these two African countries on his behalf, and expressed his “deep regret” for his temporary inability to visit in person, and his great desire to visit as soon as possible.
Twenty percent of the world’s Catholics live on the African continent, and this percentage continues to increase.
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