Vatican Secretary of State to Be in DR Congo Day Pope Francis Had Scheduled Holy Mass

Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin talks to EWTN Vatican correspondent Colm Flynn on March 19, 2022. | EWTN.

The Vatican Secretary of State is expected to be in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on July 3, the day Pope Francis was previously scheduled to preside over Sunday Mass at Ndolo Airport in Kinshasa, the country’s capital city.

In a Saturday, June 25 statement shared with ACI Africa, members of the National Episcopal Conference of Congo (CENCO) say Pietro Cardinal Parolin’s visit that expresses the closeness of the Holy Father with the Congolese people will see Holy Mass “for peace and reconciliation” organized in all Catholic Dioceses in the Central African nation.

Ahead of Cardinal Parolin’s visit, Catholic Bishops in DRC are asking all Catholics "to participate on Sunday, July 3, 2022, in the mass that will be organized in each diocese of the DR Congo for peace and reconciliation in our country and to invoke divine grace on the health of the Sovereign Pontiff.”

CENCO members acknowledge with appreciation Pope Francis’ decision to send the Vatican Secretary of State to the country “to pray with us” on the day the Holy Father was to celebrate Holy Mass in the country.

They say, “To show the great consideration he has for our country and the pastoral concern he has for the Congolese people, the Holy Father has decided to send His Eminence Pietro Cardinal Parolin, Secretary of State of Vatican City, to Kinshasa to pray with us on the same Sunday, July 3, 2022.”


In the statement signed by CENCO Secretary General, Fr. Donatien Nshole, Catholic Bishops in DRC reassure the Congolese people that “this visit of the Secretary of State, the equivalent of the Prime Minister, of the Vatican City State to Kinshasa does not replace that of Pope Francis, which has only been postponed and for which we are waiting for the communication of new dates.”

The fact that Pope Francis’ July 24-29 planned visit to Canada is on course “is an encouraging sign of the positive evolution of the care that he is taking”, Catholic Bishops in DRC say, and add, “Without a doubt, the trip to Canada will also be a test for the Pope and his doctor of the effectiveness of this care and will serve as an evaluation of the Pontiff's future activities.”

They continue, “It is up to us to continue to pray for God's grace so that the Church-family of God in the DR Congo may experience the joy of seeing and hearing the Vicar of Christ, Pope Francis, in the DR Congo, in Kinshasa and in Goma.”

CENCO members also acknowledge Pope Francis’ plan to celebrate Holy Mass with Congolese in Rome.

They say, “Pope Francis, after reassuring that this is not a cancellation, but a postponement of his trip to the DRC, and having publicly asked for forgiveness for the inconvenience that this postponement will have caused to the Congolese People, announced that on the same Sunday, July 3, 2022, he will celebrate a Mass at St. Peter's Basilica with the Congolese community in Rome.”

More in Africa

“May God bless the DR Congo and its people,” Catholic Bishops in DRC implore in their June 25 statement shared with ACI Africa.

The Holy See Press Office Director, Matteo Bruni, announced on June 10 the postponement of Pope Francis’ two-African-nation pastoral trip that had been unveiled last month, indicating that the decision was “at the request of his doctors”, and that it would take place at “a later date to be determined”.

Mr. Bruni explained, “At the request of his doctors, and in order not to jeopardize the results of the therapy that he is undergoing for his knee, the Holy Father has been forced to postpone, with regret, his Apostolic Journey to the Democratic Republic of Congo and to South Sudan.”

On June 12, Pope Francis said he is praying to reschedule the Apostolic trip to DRC and the ecumenical visit to South Sudan “as soon as possible”.

In his remarks after his Angelus reflection for pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square on Holy Trinity Sunday, Pope Francis apologized to authorities of the two African nations for having to postpone the six-day trip that had been scheduled to begin in the capital city of DRC, Kinshasa on July 2, and conclude on July 7 in South Sudan’s capital city, Juba.


Cardinal Parolin is also expected to be in South Sudan on July 5, the day Pope Francis was previously scheduled to arrive in the country alongside the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and the Moderator of the Church of Scotland, Jim Wallace.

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.