Kinshasa in Democratic Republic of Congo
The Sunday Review

More than one million people Attended Pope Francis’ Mass Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of CongoDRC() Wednesday, said the Vatican Press Office, citing estimates by local authorities.

Francis’ trip to the DRC – the first papal visit since 1985 – comes at a time the African nation is beset by armed fighting and a worsening refugee crisis.

This is part of an entire six-day journey in the DRC and South Sudan – two countries where Catholics comprise about half of the population and the Church is a key stakeholder in health and education systems as well as in democracy-building efforts. Both nations have ample natural resources and are struggling with poverty, war, and violence.

Pope Francis celebrates a holy Mass at N'Dolo Airport in Kinshasa in the DRC on Wednesday.

A The Sunday Review team on the ground witnessed crowds singing and dancing at N’Dolo Airport from the early hours of the morning, waiting for their first glimpse of the PopeHe was accompanied by a Popemobile as he toured the airfield.

In his homily on peace, Francis addressed attendees and challenged all who use weapons.

“May it be the right time for you, who in this country call yourself a Christian but commit violence,” Francis. “To you the Lord says, ‘Put down your arms and embrace mercy.’”

“We Christians are called to cooperate with everyone, to break the cycle of violence, to dismantle the machinations of hatred,” The Pope said.

Francis claimed that people were suffering because of “wounds that ache, continually infected by hatred and violence, while the medicine of justice and the balm of hope never seem to arrive,” according to Reuters.

The United States has been ravaged by militia violence for decades. DRCAs state forces fight to stop rebel groups, There is conflict between state troops and M23 rebels, who seek to control the country from their stronghold in eastern. DRCMany have been killed in the conflict and many others are displaced.

The UN World Food Programme reports that there are 26. million people In the DRC face severe hunger.

Francis spoke with victims from the East about violence during his trip and stated that he was there for them. “left without words” Hearing their horrific stories was heartbreaking.

“We can only weep in silence,” The Pope As he thanked victims for their brave testimony, he said.

He is scheduled to leave Kinshasa Friday for South Sudan’s capital, Juba, where he will be joined by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, Iain Greenshields.