AFRICA/DR CONGO - "Thanks to Pope Francis, because with his visit he brings us a strong message of hope and encouragement"

Saturday, 5 March 2022 pope francis   local churches  

Kinshasa (Agenzia Fides) - The announcement of the visit of Pope Francis to South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo has caused great joy in both countries. Fides has collected some testimonies from the east of the DRC, an area tormented by decades of guerrilla warfare.
"We have received with great joy the news of the Pope's visit. What was a rumor will soon become reality. He comes to pray with us and to give a presence of comfort and help. Yes, only the eyes that have seen know how to cry", said Fr. Justin Nkunzi, Director of the Diocesan Commission "Justice and Peace" of Bukavu to Fides.
"The Holy Father will have an open Gospel before his eyes. We survived Covid and the war with its corollaries. From Ituri to Beni, Goma, Bukavu, Uvira, the population aspires to peace, to true social cohesion. Our diversity is a possibility for growth, and those who manipulate us to better divide us and plunder our natural resources are cowards and must learn from this pilgrim, a friend of the existential peripheries, with his simplicity and his smile that welcomes and reconciles", Fr. Nkunzi concludes.
The Pope's visit to the DRC "is a sign of unity, which makes us feel part of a single Church", says a Congolese nun from Bukavu. "It is a sign of tenderness and attention towards our people who still suffer a lot. At a time when some are afraid of coming to Congo due to insecurity, the Pope gives himself the courage to come. He encourages us". "This is excellent news for thousands of young generations who only follow the Pope's visits on television. It is a historic and nostalgic event for an entire people and for a certain generation that experienced the last visit of Pope John Paul II, in the then Zaire, in May 1980", said the President of the South Kivu Civil Society, Adrien Zawadi. "Civil Society hopes that the Holy Father's visit will bring us a strong message of hope and true peace throughout the Great Lakes region, torn by fratricidal wars and cruel scenes that deny the sanctity of life. In addition to the call for reconciliation in the Great Lakes region, Pope Francis brings a prayer of support and consolation to the unjustly martyred Congolese population in eastern DRC (Beni, Ituri, North Kivu, South Kivu, Tanganyika , Maniema)".
"The Holy Father could have gone to one of the neighboring countries where it is believed that there are adequate infrastructures to give him a comfortable welcome, but no, he has chosen to come to a country, ours, which is highly criticized for its way of governing: this it is already a strong message of encouragement for which we thank the Holy Father", concludes the President of the Civil Society of South Kivu. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 5/3/2022)