Pope Francis heads to war-torn DR Congo and South Sudan
January 31, 2023 - February 5, 2023 - Pope Francis visits the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan, delivering a message of peace and reconciliation to two sub-Saharan nations plagued by conflict.
The 86-year-old pontiff will visit the DR Congo from January 31 to February 3 and then spend two days in South Sudan before returning to the Vatican.
The pope will first travel to Kinshasa, where he will meet with the country’s authorities and victims of the conflict in the eastern part of the country. Then he will fly to Juba, the capital of South Sudan, on February 3.
For the South Sudan leg, the leader of the world's nearly 1.4 billion Roman Catholics will be joined by his Anglican counterpart, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and by the Church of Scotland Moderator – an unprecedented joint foreign trip by the three religious leaders.
Pope Francis was scheduled to visit the two countries in July 2022 but had to cancel because of a persistent knee ailment.
The original itinerary included a stop in the city of Goma. But the stop to the capital of the North Kivu province has been scrapped due to a flare-up in fighting between the Congolese troops and the M23 rebel group.