Papal visit to DR Congo, South Sudan set for February

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Pope Francis on Tuesday said a visit to Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan, scheduled for July this year but postponed for ill health, would now take place early next February.

The Vatican announced the delay of the July 2-7 tour in June, saying Francis had had a flareup of problems with his knee.

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“The doctor banned me (from going) but today I am able to walk – using a stick, but I can do it,” Francis said in a video call with African students.

The 85-year-old has been using a wheelchair in his official duties because of knee pain. He also suffers from hip problems and in July 2021 underwent a colon operation.

A trip to Lebanon in June was also called off for health reasons, although the pope went to Canada in July and Kazakhstan in September and is scheduled to fly to Bahrain on Thursday, becoming the first pontiff in history to visit the Gulf state.

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