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DR Congo Catholics are getting ready to greet Pope Francis

A sign about Pope Francis's visit in Kinshasa.   -  
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Serge Koffi/Africanews

Democratic Republic Of Congo

Kinshasa is getting ready to greet the Pope. An important event for the DRC considered to hold Africa's biggest catholic community. This visit will be the first of a sovereign pontiff since John Paul II, 38 years ago so worshippers are looking forward.

"We expect a lot from his visit, he is the head of the Catholic church. So when he comes, we will listen to him but we will also tell him what we have to say.", says a man stopped on one of the capital's streets.

"As the pope is listened to all around the world, we await his message of consolation for our brothers who live in the east of our republic. We expect from the Holy Father a message of peace and reconciliation.", says another Congolese man mentioning the ongoing conflict between the M23 and national forces in Eastern DRC. 

Preparations are on the run notably in the parish of Saint Joseph in the Matonge district where choir rehearsals are taking place. Around 700 choristers are meant to be singing for the mass celebrated by Pope Francis. "The songs chosen will reflect the Congo as we will sing in our 4 languages, Kikongo, Swahili, Tshiluba, Lingala, French and we have added Latin.", explains Paola Agougouma one of the participants.

There are around 45 million Catholics in the DRC and Jean-Pierre Kwanbamba, bishop of the Kengue diocese, wishes as much will become peacemakers after the Pope's visit. "He's coming to comfort us, to strengthen our faith, to encourage us. He is coming to talk about peace and brotherhood so it should make us all peacemakers".

The Argentinean pontiff is due to arrive in the DRC on January 31st. His schedule will include twelve speeches over three days.

In addition to the authorities, he will meet with victims of violence, displaced persons, members of the clergy, and representatives of charities.

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