Catholic Bishop in DRC Urges Clergy, Faithful to “massively participate” in Papal Visit

Bishop Melchisédech Sikuli Paluku of DR Congo's Butembo-Beni Diocese. Credit: Butembo-Beni Diocese

The Bishop of Butembo-Beni Diocese in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has called on members of the Clergy, women and men Religious and the Laity in the Central African nation to actively participate in their numbers in the planned pastoral visit of Pope Francis in July.

The July 2-5 trip to DRC has been scheduled as part of the Holy Father’s two-African-nation pastoral visit that will see him interact with the people of God in the Congolese cities of Kinshasa and Goma before proceeding to South Sudan’s capital, Juba.

In a Wednesday, March 30 letter addressed to Priests, Consecrated Persons, and the Laity including young people and children of his Diocese, Bishop Melchisedec Sikuli Paluku  invites the people of God under his pastoral care “to massively participate” participate in the public Eucharistic celebration Pope Francis is expected to preside over in the city of Goma.  

“We are all invited to massively participate in the visit of Pope Francis to our country especially in the Mass he will preside over on July 4 in Goma in North Kivu,” Bishop Paluku says.

He adds, “For practical reasons, all those who wish to participate in the said Mass must register in their respective Parishes.”


To facilitate the registration, the Congolese Catholic Bishop says, Parish Priests have been issued with a “form that establishes the framework of the statistics to be drawn up for this purpose.”

“The completed form must reach the Diocesan chancery by 15 April 2022 at the latest,” the Local Ordinary Butembo-Beni Diocese has directed in his March 30 letter.

He adds, “Diocesan Priests and Consecrated Persons will be registered respectively through the Union of Diocesan Priests, and the Conference of Major Superiors (COSUMA) Butembo-Beni.”

“While waiting for your lists, I remind you that we are all invited to carry this apostolic visit in our prayers,” the Congolese Bishop says, and continues, “We are also invited to give our financial contribution to the financial committee of this apostolic visit.”

“Remember that the maturity of a Church is measured, among other things, by its generosity,” Bishop Paluku further says.

More in Africa

When realized, the July 2-7 pastoral trip to the two African countries will mark Pope Francis’ third visit to sub-Saharan Africa.

The journey will mark the first time a Pope has visited the world's youngest nation of South Sudan and the third Papal visit to DRC, the latter reportedly being home to Africa's largest Catholic population.

Earlier this month, Catholic Bishops in DRC urged the people of God to carry out works of mercy, reconciliation, and peacebuilding ahead of the planned Papal pastoral trip.

On March 14, officials of the Holy See Press unveiled the logo and motto of the Pope's visit to the Central African nation. Days later, that of the visit to South Sudan was unveiled.

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.