Pope Francis Asks for Prayers Ahead of Apostolic Journey to DR Congo, South Sudan

Pope Francis delivers his Angelus address at the Vatican, 29 January 2023. Credit: Vatican Media

Pope Francis is seeking prayerful solidarity as he prepares to embark on his third Apostolic trip to sub-Saharan Africa, beginning from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) on Tuesday, January 31, and then South Sudan from Friday, February 3. 

In his Angelus address from the window of the Apostolic Palace on Sunday, January 29, the Holy Father also spoke about conflicts in the two African nations he is set to visit, to realize his previously postponed trip that the Vatican confirmed on December 1.

“Dear brothers and sisters, in two days I will depart on an Apostolic Journey to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and to the Republic of South Sudan,” Pope Francis said, and added, “I ask everyone, please, to accompany this journey with their prayers.”

He also expressed his love for the people of God in DRC and South Sudan, saying, “I greet with affection those beloved peoples who await me.

The 266th Catholic Pontiff expressed concern about protracted violent conflicts in the two African countries, which he said have subjected people to “conditions of great hardship”.


“These lands, situated in the center of the great African continent, have suffered greatly from lengthy conflicts. The Democratic Republic of the Congo, especially in the East of the country, suffers from armed clashes and exploitation,” he said on January 29.

Pope Francis continued, “South Sudan, wracked by years of war, longs for an end to the constant violence that forces many people to be displaced and to live in conditions of great hardship.”

The Holy Father is to realize his pastoral trip to South Sudan from Friday, February 3 alongside the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and the Moderator of the Church of Scotland, Iain Greenshields,

“We will make an ecumenical pilgrimage of peace, to entreat God and men to bring an end to the hostilities and for reconciliation,” Pope Francis said in his January 29 address referencing his visit to South Sudan.

The two-African-nation trip is to begin in the capital city of DRC, Kinshasa, and conclude in South Sudan’s capital city, Juba, where the Holy Father alongside Archbishop Welby, and Rev. Greenshields, are to preside over ecumenical prayer.

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In Kinshasa, Pope Francis is scheduled to meet with the country’s authorities, victims of the conflict in the Eastern part of the country, representatives of charitable organizations, celebrate Holy Mass, meet with young people, Catholic Bishops, and members of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) in DRC before heading to South Sudan.

In the January 29 Angelus address, the Holy Father thanked “the civil authorities and the local Bishops for their invitations and for the preparations they have made for these visits.”

On Monday, January 30, Pope Francis went to the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore to pray before the icon of the Virgin Salus Populi Romani (Health – Salvation – of the Roman People) and to entrust her with his forthcoming journey to the DRC and South Sudan.

Credit: Vatican Media

Tonight at 5.50 pm, A moment of prayer had been to be held in the Basilica of S. Bartolomeo all'Isola has been scheduled at 5.50 p.m., Rome time, on the eve of the apostolic journey of Pope Francis to the two African countries. 


Credit: Vatican Media

When realized, the January 31- February 5 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 home to Africa's largest Catholic population.

Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.