Pope Francis has urged Christians to pray for his upcoming Apostolic Journey to the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan.
He says the two African nations have suffered greatly from lengthy conflicts.
Pope Francis will set off from Rome’s Fiumicino International Airport to Kinshasa on Tuesday. He will be in DRC from 31 January – 2 February 2023.
He will then proceed to South Sudan on 3rd February where he will be in the country till 5th February and departure that very day back to Rome.
Pope Francis noted that the DRC “suffers from armed clashes and exploitation,” especially in the east of the country.
South Sudan, he said, has been “wracked by years of war” and “longs for an end to the constant violence that forces many people to be displaced and to live in conditions of great hardship.”
He thanked the civil authorities and Bishops of both countries for their invitations and the preparations they have made for his visit.
In his message, the Pope recalled that he would arrive in South Sudan accompanied by Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby and Rev Dr Iain Greenshields.
He said: “In South Sudan, I will arrive together with the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. Together, as brothers, we will make an ecumenical pilgrimage of peace.”
His apostolic journey to DRC and South Sudan is an ecumenical pilgrimage of peace.