A 700-Person Choir to Animate Public Papal Mass in Kinshasa, DR Congo

Fr. Cola Emmanuel Lubamba. Credit: Courtesy Photo

In the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) capital, Kinshasa, the first stop of Pope Francis’ two-nation visit to Africa, a 700-person choir is expected to animate the Public Papal Mass scheduled for Wednesday, February 1 at Ndolo Airport, the Choir Master has said.

Addressing journalists Friday, January 20 in Kinshasa where the choir is preparing for the January 31-February 3 Papal visit to the Central African nation, Fr. Cola Emmanuel Lubamba said they have 10 more rehearsals before the material day.

“This choir is made up of the Diocesan choir of the Archdiocese of Kinshasa but also others from surrounding Dioceses,” Fr. Lubamba said.

He added, “It is a choir that was composed exclusively for this important Holy Mass. We have a choir of 700 persons.”

“We have already had 20 sessions of rehearsals and we have planned 30 sessions. With the postponement of the arrival of the Pope, we used the opportunity to perfect our skills, so we have 10 rehearsals left to prepare for this Mass,” the founder of the singing group, ‘Symphonie céleste orchestra’, said, adding, “We are already almost at the end.”


The Congolese Catholic Priest went on to highlight the three steps that have been followed during their preparations for the February 1 event.

“The first step was that of learning the songs and harmonies, and secondly, try to go in depth,” Fr. Lubamba said.

He added, “We also worked in small groups and now we are at the stage of aesthetics trying to see what is lacking and then the timing, because the whole Mass I think is going to last two hours so the choir plays an important role in relation to timing.”

On 1 December 2022, officials of the Holy See Press Office announced that Pope Francis’ rescheduled visit would begin in DRC from January 31, and conclude with an “Ecumenical Pilgrimage of Peace in South Sudan”.

In the program and itinerary that the Vatican unveiled, the Holy Father is to realize the “Ecumenical Pilgrimage of Peace” in the world’s youngest nation alongside the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and the Moderator of the Church of Scotland, Iain Greenshields, from February 3-5.

More in Africa

Speaking to journalists January 20, Fr. Lubamba highlighted some of the songs to be sung during the Papal Mass.

“We will sing a purely Congolese repertoire, but we will also add some commonly known songs,” he said.

The Curate of St. Alphonse Matete Parish of Kinshasa Archdiocese added, “For example, a repertoire of the universal Church, such as the Credo.”

 “We have chosen well known songs to ensure an active participation of the faithful during this Mass,” Fr. Cola said.

The composer of the theme song of the Papal Visit, “Benvenuto papa Francesco (Welcome Pope Francis)” also explained the colors of the outfit to be worn by members of the choir.


“First we have the white and yellow color, which symbolizes the flags of the Vatican, and we also added our national flag, which is red, blue, and yellow,” he said.

Fr. Lubamba went on to thank “all those who have contributed to give us this outfit that will be in the spotlight during these days and we take the opportunity to say welcome to the Pope.”

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.