30 Nov 2015

Reflections on the Pope in CAR

Pope Francis is on his way back to Rome after an exciting and successful visit to the Central African Republic (CAR), the last stop on his Africa tour. 

Reka Sztopa , Concern’s interim Country Director in CAR, reflects on his two day visit.

Pilgrim of peace

There was much anticipation and hope for what Pope Francis’ visit would bring to CAR. Arriving in country over the weekend, his Holiness said “I come to the Central African Republic as a pilgrim of peace and as an apostle of hope.”

After several years of inter-community conflict here, his message of forgiveness, reconciliation, peace and hope was well received by cheering crowds everywhere. Pope Francis conducted two Holy masses in front of large crowds and opened the Holy Door for the first time in history outside of Rome, launching the Jubilee Year of Mercy. He met with imams and prayed at the Koudoukou Mosque in PK5 area, visited internally displaced person (IDP) camps, and met with religious leaders, political leaders and representatives of the international community.

People from all over the country watched live coverage on TV, online, or followed the visit closely on Twitter with hashtags #PopeinCAR and #PopeinAfrica. Distance from the events did not make them any less moving. Some of the most touching moments of his visit were his off-the-cuff remarks to the youth of CAR, his unplanned visits to an IDP site and school in the Muslim area of PK5, and when he stopped the Pope-mobile to speak with a young man in a wheelchair who had been injured in a grenade attack and who wants reconciliation. Also on route towards the stadium where he held the last event of his visit, the area of PK5 opened up for the first time in months, and Christians and Muslims alike took to the streets, visiting friends and family and celebrating together.


Continue reading Reka's blog post about the Pope's visit to CAR but also about Concern's ongoing work helping those affected by the conflict in CAR HERE.

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