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Logos for Pope Francis’ trip to Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan unveiled

March 23, 2022 Catholic News Agency 0
Pope Francis at the general audience in St. Peter’s Square on May 23, 2018. / Daniel Ibáñez/CNA.

Vatican City, Mar 23, 2022 / 07:10 am (CNA).

The Vatican has unveiled the logos and mottos for Pope Francis’ July trip to South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

In South Sudan, where Francis will travel from July 5-7, the motto comes from John 17: “I pray that all may be one.”

The logo for Pope Francis’ July 5-7 trip to South Sudan. Vatican Media.
The logo for Pope Francis’ July 5-7 trip to South Sudan. Vatican Media.

The logo depicts a dove carrying an olive branch flying above the outline of South Sudan colored like the country’s flag. The design also includes a cross and two clasped hands.

According to the visit’s organizers, the clasped hands represent the reconciliation of the tribes making up the single nation, while the cross symbolizes South Sudan’s Christian heritage and its suffering.

The dove and olive branch point to the desire for peace in the country.

The motto of Pope Francis’ July 2-5 visit to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is “All Reconciled in Jesus Christ.” The logo includes a blue cross, the image of Pope Francis, a landscape of river, mountains, and a tree, and an okapi.

The logo for Pope Francis’ July 2-5 visit to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Vatican Media.
The logo for Pope Francis’ July 2-5 visit to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Vatican Media.

The okapi is a cross between a zebra and a giraffe, and the DRC is the only country where it is found in the wild. The okapi was included in the logo, according to organizers, to represent the wealth of the Congolese fauna.

Another important symbol in the image is a palm branch, which recalls the martyrdom rooted in the DRC’s history.

“The palm tree, expressing in fact victory, rebirth and immortality, refers to the message of hope that offers the visit of the Holy Father,” a press release said.

Organizers said the blue cross shows the devotion of the Congolese people for the Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Congo, who “carries and sustains the prayers of the whole nation to Christ the Redeemer, our strength.”

Three abstract people in orange are under the blue cross as a symbol of fraternity, which can only be a gift of God, the press release said.

“The vibrant colors used here are intended to manifest the feeling and dynamism that characterizes the Congolese people, ready to welcome in joy and unity the Vicar of Christ and Successor of Peter.”


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Vatican confirms Pope Francis will visit Slovakia in September

July 4, 2021 Catholic News Agency 0
Pope Francis gives his Sunday Angelus address overlooking St. Peter’s Square June 27, 2021. / Vatican Media/CNA.

Vatican City, Jul 4, 2021 / 06:05 am (CNA).

The Vatican confirmed Sunday that Pope Francis will travel to Hungary and Slovakia in September.

The pope will visit Budapest on Sept. 12 for the concluding Mass of the 52nd International Eucharistic Congress. He will then travel to the Slovakian cities of Bratislava, Prešov, Košice and Šaštin from Sept. 12 to 15.

The trip was confirmed July 4 by the director of the Holy See Press Office, Matteo Bruni, who said details about the pope’s program in Slovakia will be published at a later date.

Pope Francis himself announced his trip to Slovakia after his noon Angelus address: “I am pleased to announce that from 12 to 15 September next, God willing, I will go to Slovakia to make a pastoral visit,” he said from a window overlooking St. Peter’s Square.

Pilgrims from Slovakia present in the square responded to the announcement with cheers, and the pope noted their presence. “The Slovaks are happy there!” he said.

“I sincerely thank all those who are preparing this journey and I pray for them,” Francis said. “Let’s all pray for this trip and for the people who are working to organize it.”

In his Angelus address July 4, Pope Francis reflected on “the comfort of habit and the dictatorship of prejudice,” which prevents us from really knowing Jesus and the people around us.

His exegesis centered on the day’s Gospel reading from St. Mark. In the passage, Jesus preaches in the synagogue in Nazareth, but his fellow villagers react by asking themselves: “What kind of wisdom has been given him? What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands! Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon?”

“We could say that they know Jesus, but they do not recognize him,” the pope said. They “have known him for 30 years and think they know everything.”

“In reality, they never realized who Jesus really is,” he said.

Francis noted that the same thing can happen in our own lives with the people around us: we see someone in our neighborhood, meet them occasionally, but “it is an ordinary, superficial knowledge that does not recognize the uniqueness of that person.”

“It is a risk that we all run: we think we know a lot about a person, and the worst is that we label them and shut them up in our prejudices,” he said.

“And here we get to the very heart of the problem,” Pope Francis continued, “when we make the comfort of habit and the dictatorship of prejudice prevail, it is difficult to open up to novelty and be surprised.”

He encouraged Catholics to foster amazement in their faith life.

“Without amazement, faith becomes a tired litany that slowly dies out and becomes a habit,” he said. “What is it, amazement? Amazement is precisely when the encounter with God happens.”

God became incarnate and he draws near to us in the normal activities of our lives, Francis said.

“And then, it happens to us as to the fellow villagers of Jesus, we risk that, when he passes by, we do not recognize him.”

“Now, in prayer, let us ask the Madonna, who welcomed the mystery of God in her daily life in Nazareth, for eyes and hearts free of prejudices and to have eyes open to be amazed: ‘Lord, that we might meet you.’”

“We meet him in the normal: eyes open to God’s surprises, at his humble and hidden presence in daily life,” he concluded.