Catholic Bishop in DR Congo Calls for Prayers, Unity in Preparation for Papal Visit

Bishop Willy Ngumbi Ngengele of DR Congo's Goma Diocese. Credit: Vatican Media

The Catholic Bishop of Goma Diocese in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has called on the people of God in his Episcopal See to intensify prayers and remain united as the Central African nation prepares for the pastoral visit of Pope Francis. 

In a Monday, May 23 statement, Bishop Willy Ngumbi Ngengele urges Catholics to be “merciful and not dwell on the shortcomings we have observed, but to be motivated by the desire to overcome them in order to prepare for the meeting with the Successor of Peter, who is coming as a messenger of peace.”

“I urge you to unite forces more in Christ for an effective communion and participation as we prepare for the Pope’s visit,” Bishop Ngumbi says.

The Burundian-born member of the Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers) adds, “May we find in you our Oneness, without straying from the path of truth and justice, moving forward together towards eternal life.”

Pope Francis is expected to arrive in the capital of DRC, Kinshasa, on July 2 in his two-African-nation pastoral trip that is to see him proceed to South Sudan in an ecumenical trip alongside the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and the Moderator of the Church of Scotland, Jim Wallace.


In his four-day pastoral visit to DRC, the Holy Father is scheduled to meet the people of God in the cities of Kinshasa and Goma, the latter city being the capital of North Kivu Province in Eastern DRC.

In his May 23 statement, Bishop Ngumbi gives thanks to the Lord “for the progress of works on the site of the Papal Mass of 04 July 2022” in Goma.

“The measures taken for this great day that we are all waiting for imply great sacrifices and depend on many sectors: liturgical, pastoral, security, health, communication, logistics, financial, etc.,” the 57-year-old Bishop who has been at the helm of Goma Diocese since May 2019 following his transfer from DRC’s Kindu Diocese says.

In order to bring the preparations to a successful conclusion, Bishop Ngumbi says, “It is imperative that another Eucharistic Celebration be held with our active participation at the site.”

He announces the celebration of Holy Mass “at the Papal Mass Site on Sunday, June 12, 2022.”

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“During this Eucharistic celebration, the Sacrament of Confirmation will be administered to the candidates of the Parishes of the Deanery of Goma,” the Local Ordinary of Goma Diocese says.

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 be the third Papal trip to DRC, which is home to Africa's largest Catholic population.

In a May 20 report the Cardinal in DRC said Pope Francis is expected to visit the country in July despite his health challenges, especially the pain in his knee.

“Pope Francis confirmed that he is coming. Unless there are new developments,” Fridolin Cardinal Ambongo was quoted as saying.

Earlier this month, the 85-year-old Pope started using a wheelchair in public due to a torn ligament in his right knee. The knee pain has seen him cancel some of his engagements.


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.