Bishops in DR Congo Engage Citizens to Give Pope Francis “a welcome worthy of his rank”

Official logo and motto of Pope Francis’ Apostolic visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Credit: Vatican Media

Catholic Bishops in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are engaging citizens of the Central African nation to accord the Holy Father “a welcome worthy of his rank” during his Apostolic visit early next year.

In a statement issued Thursday, December 15, members of the National Episcopal Conference of Congo (CENCO) highlight the importance of the Papal visit, which the Holy See Press office confirmed on December 1, unveiling the four-day program of the previously postponed trip that is to begin on January 31 in Kinshasa.

“We launch an urgent appeal to the faithful, to men and women of good will to remobilize to give the Pastor of the Universal Church, the Successor of the Apostle Peter, a welcome worthy of his rank,” Catholic Bishops in DRC say.

They note that “the meeting with the Pope is a moment of grace that requires a good spiritual preparation” and go on to invite all the faithful to “pray for this great ecclesial and national meeting.”

 CENCO members further direct all Parishes and religious communities to recite the special prayer prepared for this intention “at the end of each Eucharistic celebration, until the end of the Holy Father's visit.”


They also direct that “the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament be resumed every first Thursday of the month and that the Rosary be recited every Saturday in all parishes and religious communities.”

The members of CENCO note that “the success of such a large-scale visit depends to a large extent on the involvement of each of us in the material organization.”

“We therefore ask all our faithful and all people of good will to contribute to the material organization of this ecclesial and national event,” Catholic Bishops in DRC say in their December 15 statement shared with ACI Africa.

The two-African-nation pastoral trip has been scheduled to begin in the capital city of DRC, Kinshasa, and conclude in South Sudan’s capital city, Juba, where the Holy Father alongside the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and the Moderator of the Church of Scotland, Iain Greenshields, are to preside over ecumenical prayer.

In their December 15 statement, CENCO members express their appreciation to the government for getting involved in preparations for the Papal visit.

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They also thank all the faithful and all people of good will “who have contributed financially to the material organization of this ecclesial and national event.”

The Catholic Bishops invite each Christian “to carry out acts of mercy, reconciliation and the building of peace and brotherhood.”

“Through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady of the Congo, of Saint Joseph and of our Blessed Marie Clémentine Anuarite and Isidore Bakanja who welcomed Christ in their lives, may God grant us to launch into the preparation of the reception of the Sovereign Pontiff with faith and joy for his greater glory,” CENCO members implore.

When realized, the 31 January-5 February 2023 pastoral trip to the two African countries will mark Pope Francis’ third visit to sub-Saharan Africa. 

The journey will be the first-ever Papal visit to South Sudan and the third Papal trip to DRC, which is reportedly home to Africa's largest Catholic population.


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.