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African Catholic Priests Endorse Pope Francis's Message of Peace

  • Ndimyake Mwakalyelye

Pope Francis addresses a joint meeting of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Sept. 24, 2015, making history as the first pontiff to do so.

Pope Francis addresses a joint meeting of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Sept. 24, 2015, making history as the first pontiff to do so.

The long-awaited arrival of Pope Francis to Washington, has met the expectations of many Catholics, who look to him for guidance, as the leader of the Vatican and the Catholic Church as a whole.

Father Jean-Claude Atusameso, a Catholic Priest of the Diocese of Kikwit in the Democratic Republic of Congo, told VOA Studio 7 the pope has validated the belief of many that he is a man of the people, through his actions, starting with his stop to Cuba, before arriving in the U.S.

"In the U.S. he's coming to a country with a lot of technogy, everyone likes to drive a big car, but here you have a pope who is making the decision, to drive in the city of Washington, in a little, small car, a Fiat," said Father Atusameso. "That in itself is giving a message, he's a pope of the poor, the pope of the neglected, the pope of the abandoned."

Father Atusameso went on to describe the pope's humility by his decision to have lunch with the poor and destitute in Washington, rather than the members of Congress and other high level government officials and representatives he addressed during his joint meeting of Congress.

"After speaking with the congressmen, the senators, he's making the decision to go and have lunch with the homeless at the Catholic Charities," said Father Atusameso, adding that this was uncharacteristic of his predecessors.

In terms of Africa, Father Atusameso, who also heads an organization called the Jatukik Catholic Foundation in Washington, said there is a lot the citizens of the continent can expect from him.

"You can see that for the first time that in the body of governors, we have African bishops or African cardinals, like for instance the cardinal from the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Cardinal [Luarent] Mosengwo he's now in the body of the governors of the Catholic Church in the world."

Father Atusameso said Pope Francis ultimately serves as the bridge between the rich and poor people of the world.


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