December 1, 2022 (JUBA) – Pope Francis will visit South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) early next year, the Vatican announced on Thursday.
The Vatican said Francis would visit DRC from January 31 to February 3 and then spend two days in South Sudan alongside the archbishop of Canterbury and the moderator of the general assembly of the Church of Scotland.
The Pope had to call off the twin trip in July because of a persistent knee ailment, which has left him having to often use a wheelchair.
South Sudan’s presidential affairs Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin said Thursday that president Salva Kiir received a message from the representative of the Vatican in the country about the Pope’s visit.
“As the government, we will prepare for his reception. Nothing has changed. The previous plans remain in place. We will just need to revise here and there,” he explained.
Marial said South Sudan is ready to host the Catholic Church head.
“The security situation has been used as one of the reasons to delay the visit of the pope and his other colleagues. We assure everyone that the security of these religious leaders would be the top priority of government. They will receive the protection and reception they are accorded everywhere they go,” he assured.
The Papal visit was canceled in July due to health concerns. Next year’s visit will be the Pope’s first visit to the young nation.