Pope Francis held a private mass before a crowd of millions in Kinshasa, calling for peace and forgiveness. The exhibition is part of his six-day residency in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan. The two countries have been plagued by violent conflicts for decades.
Pope Francis hopes for a “day of grace”
“Jesus Christ wants us to come together in his forgiveness, to give us peace and courage, to be able to forgive. This is the courage to excuse from our hearts,” the Pope said at the main airport in the Congolese capital. : “It is rational to rid our hearts of anger, remorse, resentment and envy. My dear ones, may today be a gracious day we receive forgiveness from Jesus.”
Many of those present had already spent the night before on the huge runway at Ndulu Airport and spent hours singing and dancing before Francis arrived. John Paul II was the last pope to visit the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1985.
Pope Francis: DRC ‘looted’
The exhibition was the first major event of the papal residence. The day before, he had denounced to members of the government the “economic colonialism” that had “plundered” the nation.
Through his visit, the Pope wants to draw the world’s attention once again to a region that has been plagued by internal conflicts between several armed groups for years. In addition, the jubilant local reception shows that the Catholic Church is growing in popularity and influence in this region and other parts of Africa.