Pope Francis Prays to Reschedule Trip to DR Congo, South Sudan “as soon as possible”

Official logos for Pope Francis’ Apostolic visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Ecumenical Peace Pilgrimage to South Sudan. Credit: Vatican Media

Pope Francis has said he is praying to reschedule the Apostolic trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo (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, June 12, Pope Francis expressed optimism and asked the people of God to join him in praying for the realization of the two-African-nation pastoral visit.

The Holy Father 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.

“And now I would like to address the people and authorities of the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan,” Pope Francis said June 12.

He underscored the value of his third Apostolic visit to Africa saying, “Dear friends, with great regret, due to problems with my leg, I have had to postpone my visit to your countries, planned for the first days of July. I truly feel great sorrow for having had to postpone this trip, which means so much to me. I apologize for this.”


The Holy Father implored, “Let us pray together that, with the help of God and medical attention, I will be able to be with you as soon as possible. Let us be hopeful!”

On June 10, Matteo Bruni, the Holy See Press Office Director, announced the postponement of the Holy Father’s third  visit to Africa that had been unveiled last month, saying Pope Francis’ decision to postpone the trip was “at the request of his doctors”, and that it would take place at “a later date to be determined”.

In the program that was published May 28, the Holy See described the second leg of Pope Francis’ 37th Apostolic Visit abroad as an “Ecumenical Peace Pilgrimage to the South Sudanese Land and People”.

The Holy Father was scheduled to undertake the pastoral visit to South Sudan alongside the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and the Moderator of the Church of Scotland, Jim Wallace.

The 85-year-old Pontiff has been suffering from a torn ligament in his right knee, limiting his ability to walk. On May 19, he used a wheelchair during a public meeting, the first time he had done so publicly since leaving the hospital after colon surgery in July 2021.

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The pain in his right knee has seen the Holy Father cancel some of his engagements. On May 9, the Tourism Minister of Lebanon announced that the Holy Father had postponed the June 12-13 trip to the Western Asian country “for health reasons”. 

Pope Francis is scheduled to visit Canada next month, from July 24-29.

Fr. Don Bosco Onyalla is ACI Africa’s founding Editor-in-Chief. He was formed in the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers (Spiritans), and later incardinated in Rumbek Diocese, South Sudan. He has a PhD in Media Studies from Daystar University in Kenya, and a Master’s degree in Organizational Communication from Marist College, New York, USA.