DRC: Ecclesiastical authorities and the government are meeting to start preparing for the visit of Pope Francis.

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The National Episcopal Conference of Congo (CENCO) and the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) held their first joint meeting as they begin preparations for Pope Francis’ visit to the country, July 2-5,

Cisa – Kinshasa, DRC.

The meeting brought together DRC Prime Minister Jean-Michel Sama Lukonde, Archbishop Ettore Balestrero, the Apostolic Nuncio to DRC, CENCO representatives and senior government officials. The purpose of the meeting held on Thursday was to begin preparations for the papal visit.

Government and Church Working Together

According to the Minister of Communications and Media, who doubles as a government spokesperson, the meeting focused, among other things, on the establishment of various preparatory committees.

“You will remember that recently the Prime Minister, accompanied by the Apostolic Nuncio and the whole hierarchy of CENCO, announced this great event, namely the arrival of the Pope. Since then, several activities have taken place both at the level of the Church and at the level of the Government”, declared Mr. Patrick Muyaya, the spokesperson.

He added: “Today we have agreed to work more closely to see how we can organize a dignified visit that the Pope deserves,” he said.

The Prime Minister instructed the various sectors of communication, logistics, finance and others to immediately define guidelines for the committees to start working.

“Communication, logistics, housekeeping, finance… the committees will report regularly. There will be meetings like this until the pope arrives. It’s about making sure things are done the way they should be done,” Mr. Muyaya stressed.

The pope is coming for everyone

The Apostolic Nuncio said that the visit is not only reserved for Catholic Christians but is intended for all Congolese, regardless of their beliefs. The Pope’s visit is intended to promote the reconciliation of all.

“The pope does not come only for Catholics. He comes for everyone. He wants to see everyone. This is why we are committed to preparing the event well. The Church must do the more specific preparatory work regarding the essential aspects of the Pope’s visit… The Pope is coming to lead us to Jesus and invite everyone to reconciliation,” Bishop Balestrero said.

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