13 March 2024

(Pope Francis, February 2023)

On Sunday 10 March 2024, the Congolese community in Rome lived an unforgettable experience of prayer and communion. We prayed and marched for peace in our country. Under the silent and indifferent gaze of the international community, numerous massacres and internal and external displacements are being perpetrated in the east and northeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Therefore, in order to give concrete expression to the message of the National Episcopal Conference of Congo of 16 February, which asked us to intensify our prayer for peace, the Congolese community in Rome organised this Eucharistic celebration and march for peace, in which priests, consecrated persons, young people, women and men, lay people and our brothers and sisters from other countries took part: Europe, Africa, Asia, America and the diocese of Rome, whose proximity made tangible Monsignor Ricardo Lamba, auxiliary bishop of Rome, who presided over the Holy Eucharist.

Immediately after mass, in single line, we began our peaceful march in prayer, with flags and banners in hand, placards unfurled, rosaries and songs invoking peace, towards Piazza San Pietro to participate in the Angelus at 12:00 with His Holiness Pope Francis.

 The key message inscribed on our banners and placards is the phrase used by Pope Francis during his visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo in February 2023: “Hands off the Democratic Republic of Congo!”

Arriving in St. Peter’s Square, the Holy Father Francis blessed us and once again sent a message to us and to the world, urging the entire human community to open its eyes to the unprecedented drama ravaging the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, saying: “I warmly welcome to Rome the Catholic community of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Let us pray for peace in this country”.

May God give us his peace in our country.

During these days, the text “María Antonia París, friend and companion in the journey” is being distributed.