Cardinal Parolin takes Pope's closeness to South Sudan and DRC
By Vatican News
Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, has embarked on a journey taking him to the Democratic Republic of Congo and to South Sudan. He is scheduled to return to the Vatican on 8 July.
A statement released by the Holy See Press Office revealed that Pope Francis “decided to send the Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, to Kinshasa and Juba in order to show his closeness to the beloved peoples of the Congo and South Sudan.”
Speaking during the Angelus on Sunday 12 June, the Pope apologized for having had to postpone his journey and assured the faithful that he plans to make the journey personally as soon as possible.
Cardinal Parolin's visit will take place during the period when Pope Francis' 37th Apostolic Journey abroad was originally scheduled.
A tweet from the Secretariat of State included the programme for Cardinal Parolin’s visit.
Democratic Republic of Congo
It says that after his arrival in Kinshasa, the Vatican Secretary of State will meet the Congolese Prime Minister, Jean-Michel Sama Lukonde, and will participate in the signing of an Agreement between CENCO – the Episcopal Conference of the Democratic Republic of Congo - and the government.
In Kinshasa, Cardinal Parolin will also meet President Felix Tshisekedi, he will celebrate Holy Mass in the square in front of the Parliament, and he will meet with religious congregations.
In Juba, the Cardinal will hold meetings with President Salva Kiir and with Vice President Riek Machar.
He will also meet with the bishops, with the clergy and religious, and with UN representatives in the country.
The Vatican Secretary of State will visit Bentiu Camp for Internally Displaced Persons, where he is scheduled to celebrate Mass; he will also visit the Catholic University in Juba and a centre for disabled children.
Finally, Cardinal Parolin will celebrate an open-air Mass for South Sudanese faithful in the John Garang Mausoleum Park in Juba.