Pope urges Congo, South Sudan to work for peace, prosperity

Pope Francis leads his Wednesday general audience at Paul VI auditorium hall in Vatican City February 8, 2017. PHOTO/AP
Pope Francis leads his Wednesday general audience at Paul VI auditorium hall in Vatican City February 8, 2017. PHOTO/AP

Pope Francis on Saturday urged the people and leaders of the DR Congo and South Sudan to “turn a page” and forge new paths of reconciliation, peace and development.

Pope Francis issued a video message on the day he had planned to begin a week long pilgrimage to the two African countries. He canceled the scheduled trip last month because of knee pain that makes walking and standing difficult.

In the message, the Pope said he was “greatly disappointed” to not be able to travel and promised to visit “as soon as possible.”

He urged the people of both countries not to allow themselves to be robbed of hope despite the violence, political instability, exploitation and poverty that he said had pained them for so long.

“You have a great mission, all of you, beginning with your political leaders: It is that of turning a page in order to blaze new trails, new paths of reconciliation and forgiveness, of serene coexistence and of development,” Pope Francis said.