By Francis Jjunju
2nd Feb 2023
Pope Francis has urged Congo’s young people to work for a peaceful and honest future if they are to solve the country’s chronic poverty, corruption and conflict.
Deafening cheers and chants greeted Francis on his last full day in Congo as he joined tens of thousands of young people at the Martyrs’ Stadium in the capital, Kinshasa.
The Vatican said more than 65,000 people attended.
The crowd that pulsed in the stands repeatedly interrupted the pope, cheering especially loudly when Francis denounced the “cancer of corruption.”
The audience broke into a chant in the Lingala language directed at the country’s president, thundering that his mandate was over.
The Pope is said to have enjoyed the enthusiasm, egging the young people on and urging them at one point to hold hands in a sign of community.
More than two-thirds of Congo’s population of around 100 million is under age 25.
The United Nations and humanitarian organizations have said the country’s youth were particularly vulnerable to abuses as violence flares in the east.
Closer to home, Francis urged the young in Kinshasa not to be tempted by drugs, corruption or quick-fix financial schemes or to be sucked into the violence tearing at eastern Congo.
Pope Francis is ending his three day ecumenical pilgrimage of peace in DR. Congo tomorrow 3rd February before he heads to South Sudan.