Loading...
Loading...
Click here if you don’t see subscription options
The Associated PressJanuary 17, 2023
A woman carries a cross in front of a large bannerA young woman carries a cross during a march in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, to protest escalating violence in the country, Dec. 4, 2022. Deadly violence hit Christians in Africa Jan. 15, 2023, with a Catholic priest in northern Nigeria burned to death and as many as 17 Christians killed in a blast in the eastern DRC. (CNS photo/Justin Makangara, Reuters)

ROME (AP) — Pope Francis on Tuesday sent his condolences to the victims of a bombing on a Pentecostal church in eastern Congo, an attack claimed by Islamic militants two weeks before the pontiff is due to arrive in the country.

Authorities say Sunday's bombing in Kasindi, a town in North Kivu province, killed at least 14 people and injured more than 60. The Islamic State group and its Aamaq news outlet said militants had planted an explosive device inside the church and detonated it while people were praying.

Francis addressed the telegram of condolence to the Rev. Andre Bokundoa-Bo-Likabe, whom the Vatican identified as the president of the Church of Christ in Congo.

According to the telegram, Francis expressed “his compassion and closeness to all the families hard hit by this tragedy” and called for peace.

According to the telegram, Francis expressed “his compassion and closeness to all the families hard hit by this tragedy” and called for peace.

Francis is due to arrive in the Congolese capital Kinshasa on Jan. 31 for a three-day visit. When it was originally scheduled for July, the trip was supposed to include a stop in Goma, the capital of North Kivu.

The Vatican scrapped that leg of the trip, amid a new wave of attacks in parts of North Kivu. Violence has wracked eastern Congo for decades as more than 120 armed groups and self-defense militias fight for land and power. Nearly 6 million people are internally displaced, and hundreds of thousands are facing extreme food insecurity, according to the United Nations.

While he won't be going to Goma, Francis will meet with some residents from the east and victims of the conflict in Kinshasa.

The latest from america

A year after his death, a look back on the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh—and his influence on many American writers on nonviolence, mindfulness and contemplative spirituality.
James T. KeaneJanuary 31, 2023
Pope francis at left shakes the hand of Congolese president Felix Tshisekedi
Toussaint Kafarhire Murhula, S.J., a priest in the Democratic Republic of Congo, describes the joy of Congolese people at the pope's visit and his hopes for what the pope's journey might bring.
Ricardo da Silva, S.J.January 31, 2023
”Hands off Africa!” Pope Francis said on the first day of his visit to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. “Stop choking Africa: It is not a mine to be stripped or a terrain to be plundered.”
Gerard O’ConnellJanuary 31, 2023
A file photo shows a crown of thorns.
The experience of the sacrament of penance in the Roman rite will be slightly different this Lent, thanks to approved changes in the English translation set to take effect in a few weeks.