A Million Catholics Attend Mass by Pope In Dr Congo
Pope Francis has celebrated one of his biggest masses, with around a million attendees in democratic republic of Congo’s capital, estimates say.
Huge crowds started to gather in Kinshasa well before dawn, including scores of schoolgirls dressed in white who danced along the Pope’s route.
A public holiday was declared, so as many people as possible could attend.
The mass at N’dole airport was a joyful event, and the pontiff did have a strong message of peace for those engaging in conflict in the country.
On the second of his six-day visit to Africa, he said warring sides should forgive one another and grant their opponents a “great amnesty of the heart”.
He went on to espouse the benefits of cleansing one’s heart of “anger and remorse, of every trace of resentment and hostility”.
Wednesday’s mass was tipped to be one of pope francis’ largest-ever masses, second only to one held in the Philippines in 2015, according to Christopher Lamb, the rome correspondent of the catholic magazine the tablet.
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More than one million people attended Pope Francis’ Mass in Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Wednesday, the Vatican Press Office said, citing figures estimated by local authorities.
Francis’ trip to the DRC – the first papal visit since 1985 – comes at a time the African nation is beset by armed fighting and a worsening refugee crisis.
It is part of a six-day trip in the DRC and South Sudan – two countries where Catholics comprise about half of the population and the Church is a key stakeholder in health and education systems as well as in democracy-building efforts. Both countries have abundant natural resources, but are grappling with poverty and strife
A CNN team on the ground witnessed crowds singing and dancing at N’Dolo Airport from the early hours of the morning, waiting for their first glimpse of the Pope, who toured the air field in an open Popemobile.
Francis spoke to attendees in his homily about peace and directly challenged those who wield weapons.
“May it be the right time for you, who in this country call yourself a Christian but commit violence,” Francis said. “To you the Lord says, ‘Put down your arms and embrace mercy.’”