Pope prays for peace in DRC, South Sudan


Pope Francis led a special prayer service at St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican on Thursday evening, praying for peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and South Sudan.

The pope told attendees that ” with prayer we want to sow seeds of peace” in the two countries and called for renewed efforts to establish dialogue and negotiations in an effort to secure peace in the troubled nations.

Prayers for peace

Earlier this year, the pope said he was considering the possibility of visiting South Sudan, but he announced at the service on Thursday that this won’t be possible. South Sudan is grappling with an ongoing civil conflict that has resulted in severe food shortages across parts of the country. While the nation’s peace process continues to limp on with little effect on widespread violence and human right violations believed to be taking place there.

During Thursday’s service, the pope invited people all around the world to pray for peace in South Sudan – as well as the Democratic Republic of Congo, which is enduring its own problems with violence.

DRC bishops thank Pope Francis

The DRC’s security troubles largely revolve around the continued tenure of President Joseph Kabila, whose official mandate came to an end in December 2016. His extended reign has resulted in deadly protests with excessive force displayed by security forces. Meanwhile, the country’s electoral commission says it won’t be able to hold an election to replace Kaliba until late 2018.

Opposition supporters fear Kabila will use this time to pass constitutional changes allowing him run again in the country’s next election.

Catholic bishops in the DRC thanked Pope Francis for his comment’s during Thursday’s ceremony.

““In these difficult times, Pope Francis took the initiative to pray on 23 November 2017 for peace in our country and in South Sudan. We take this opportunity to send our heartfelt and sincere thanks (to the Holy Father),” the Cardinal, Archbishops and Bishops, members of the National Episcopal Conference of Congo (CENCO) said in a statement.

Featured image: By Benhur Arcayan – Malacañang Photo Bureau, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=37899279

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.