“Think, you who are so dear to me, of how much more you are precious and beloved in the eyes of God, who never disappoints those who put their hope in him. You have a great mission, all of you, beginning with your political leaders: it is that of turning a page in order to blaze new trails, new paths of reconciliation and forgiveness, of serene coexistence and of development.”
The Vatican announced on June 10 that the pope’s trip to Africa, originally scheduled for July 2-7, had to be postponed at the request of his doctors “in order not to jeopardize the results of the therapy that he is undergoing for his knee.”
The 85-year-old has been suffering from an inflamed ligament in his knee, limiting his ability to walk. He has been using a wheelchair and a walking cane during public appearances since the first week of May.
“The Lord knows how greatly disappointed I am to have had to postpone this long awaited and much-desired visit. But we remain confident and hopeful that we shall be able to meet as soon as possible. In the meantime, I would like to tell you that, particularly in these weeks, you have been that much closer to my heart. I carry within me, in prayer, the pain that you have endured for all too long,” Pope Francis said.
“I think of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the exploitation, violence and insecurity from which it suffers, particularly in the east of the country, where armed conflicts continue to cause much intense suffering, aggravated by the indifference and the convenience of many.”
“I think of South Sudan and the plea for peace arising from its people who, weary of violence and poverty, await concrete results from the process of national reconciliation.”