Catholic Diocese of Goma, DR Congo “constantly” in Pope Francis’ Prayers: Vatican Cardinal

Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle during Mass at the courtyard of the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish of Goma Diocese. Credit: l'Université Catholique la Sapientia de Goma

Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle has assured the people of God in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) Catholic Diocese of Goma of Pope Francis’ spiritual closeness amid the region’s protracted violent conflict and the resultant humanitarian crisis.

In his homily at the courtyard of the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish of Goma Diocese, the Papal special envoy to the DRC’s just concluded Third National Eucharistic Congress also recalled the canceled visit of the Holy Father to the Congolese Catholic Diocese. 

“The Holy Father constantly remembers you in his prayers,” Cardinal Tagle said during the Tuesday, June 13 Eucharistic Celebration, and added, “You know that he wanted to come here to Goma to show you how close he is to you.”

Pope Francis “suffered greatly from” the decision to cancel the pastoral visit to Goma, the Pro-Prefect of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Evangelization told the people of God in Goma Diocese, adding, “But rest assured that you are in his mind and in his heart.”

In the initial preparations for his 31 January to 5 February 2023 Apostolic Journey to the DRC and the Ecumenical Pilgrimage of Peace in South Sudan, Pope Francis had been scheduled to proceed to Goma, the capital of North Kivu, after arriving in Kinshasa.


This part of the DRC trip was removed from the schedule, most likely due to security concerns in Eastern DRC, which has created a severe humanitarian crisis with more than 5.5 million people displaced from their homes, reportedly the third-highest number of internally displaced people in the world.

In his June 13 homily, Cardinal Tagle reflected on the Gospel reading of the day, and called on everyone “to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world.”

“Salt and light,” he said, “do not draw attention to themselves, they do not serve their own interests.”

The Vatican Cardinal explained in reference to salt and light, “They serve something other than themselves. Salt is used to add flavor to food, to preserve it, and to heal certain diseases. Light in the home is used to find objects, to orient oneself and to avoid accidents.”

“As salt of the earth, we say 'yes' to respect for every human being. As salt of the earth, we say 'yes' to authentic dialogue. As salt of the earth, we say 'yes' to the healing of wounded people and of our earth,” he further said.

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The 65-year-old Filipino Cardinal who started his Episcopal Ministry in December 2001 as the Bishop of Imus in the Philippines continued, “As the light of the world, we say 'yes' to justice based on truth. As the light of the world, we say 'yes' to forgiveness and reconciliation. As the light of the world, we say ‘yes’ to lasting peace, for ourselves, our children and their children”.

“Many, and this is also the case in Goma and North Kivu, perceive life as tasteless and meaningless. They themselves feel they are being treated like tasteless food to be thrown away and they live their lives in darkness,” he said.

Cardinal Tagle advocated for Christian hope, saying, “Through our compassion, through our humble service in Jesus' name, we hope that many people will experience Christ and find new meaning and flavor in their lives.”

“Let us always look to Jesus. Let's receive him. With our Blessed Mother Mary and Saint Anthony, say 'yes' to Jesus,” he said during the June 13 Eucharistic celebration in Goma Diocese.

Cardinal Tagle later visited the Kolwezi copper mine and the Lushala refugee camp, which is home to 13,000 people.


Speaking at the refugee camp, the Vatican-based Filipino Cardinal called on authorities in the DRC and the international community to help facilitate the realization of peace in the Central African nation, which is home to Africa's largest Catholic population.

“In the name of the millions of migrants and refugees that move in various parts of the world, we appeal to the goodwill of people and especially to those who have a position of authority in the country and in the international world, to build peace,” Cardinal Tagle said.

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.