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, the Holy Father expressed optimism and asked the people of God to join him in praying for the realization of the two-African-nation pastoral visit.
He apologized to authorities of the two African nations for having to postpone the six-day trip.
On Monday, June 13, the Holy Father reiterated his intention to reschedule his African trip.
Speaking at the start of his audience with members of the Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers) in the Vatican’s Clementine Hall June 13, Pope Francis said, “Unfortunately, with great regret, I had to postpone the trip to Congo and South Sudan.”
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The 85-year-old Pontiff added, “Indeed, at my age, it is not so easy to go on a mission trip! But your prayers and example give me courage, and I am confident that I can visit these peoples, whom I carry in my heart.”
Pope Francis 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.
The pain in his right knee has seen him cancel some of his engagements. For instance, 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”.
On June 13, the Vatican announced that Pope Francis will not preside at the June 16 Corpus Christi Mass and procession due to the pain in his right knee.
In a statement, the Holy See press office said that the decision not to preside over Holy Mass of the Solemnity of Corpus Christi was taken “due to the limitations imposed on the Pope by gonalgia,” or knee pain, “and the specific liturgical needs of the celebration.”
The Holy Father is still scheduled to visit three cities in Canada next month, from July 24-29.