Pope Francis visit DR Cong, sues for forgiveness
Pope Francis has arrived in Africa for his visit to the nations of DR Congo and South Sudan. This is his fifth visit to the continent and this time he is emphasising the need for forgiveness.
On Tuesday his flight landed in “Ndjili” International Airport in the DRC’s capital of Kinshasa.
In Kinshasa, the 86-year old was received in a welcoming ceremony before proceeding to pay a courtesy visit to Felix Tshisekedi the President of DR Congo where he addressed the country’s authorities, civil society, and diplomatic corps. He condemned the fighting and planned to repeat his call for peace during his meeting with victims of the conflict.
On Wednesday, the Head of the Catholic Church met church faithfuls who were excitedly waiting to meet him, waving their flags and banners with the Pope’s face on it. The people danced and sang songs to show their excitement, AP reported.
The Pope then presided over a mass with the crowd being estimated to be about 1 million people. He urged them to open their hearts to forgiveness just as Christ forgave those who betrayed him.
“He showed them his wounds because forgiveness is born from wounds, it is born when our wounds do not leave scars of hatred, but become the means by which we make room for others and accept their weaknesses. Our weaknesses become an opportunity, and forgiveness becomes the path to peace,” Francis said.
Regarding the violence that had once plagued the country forcing millions to leave their homes, Francis told them that the hurt from the previous experience of terror might be their but the act of forgiveness creates an “amnesty of heart”
“What good it does us to cleanse our hearts of anger and remorse, of every trace of resentment and hostility,” he said.
Later on Wednesday, Francis will meet with victims of fighting in Congo’s east, at the meeting victims are expected to share their stories.
According to Vatican statistics about half of the 105 million people in Congo are Catholics.