Pope Francis has revealed that he may finally visit South Sudan “early February” 2023 after his pastoral visit to the East African country was postponed in July this year, with the Holy Father’s doctor citing health challenges.
In a virtual dialogue with African Catholic students on Tuesday, Pope Francis said that his health had improved significantly and revealed that he had started to move around with a lot more ease.
He said that plans were already underway for the realization of the postponed ecumenical trip to South Sudan and his pastoral visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) at the beginning of next February.
Pope Francis was responding to a request that was made by Clevine Kavira, a student from DRC who begged the Holy Father to visit the Central African nation and to express solidarity with those undergoing various challenges in the country, including women who have been sexually abused.
“Regarding my visit, I had to suspend it because my doctor ordered me to. I am back to walking now with a cane, and therefore things are improving. Hopefully, if all goes well, in early February, I will come to visit you. I will visit you and South Sudan,” Pope Francis said during the virtual dialogue with African Catholic students.
He added, “This trip was planned for February. I was thinking of late January, but the climate is not the very best in January, and therefore, we are moving the trip to February. We are working on the trip, and I will surely be able to meet you.”
The virtual initiative brought together students from 34 universities that were drawn from nine African countries. These were the DRC, Congo Brazzaville, Kenya, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Nigeria, Cameroon, and Ivory Coast.