1 million attend Mass with Pope Francis in Democratic Republic of Congo

Pope Francis has celebrated one of his biggest masses, in DR Congo’s capital, Kinshasa, the BBC reports.

It is more than 37 years since a pope visited the conflict-ridden country.

Estimates say around a million gathered for the open-air mass at N’dole airport, on the second of the pontiff’s six-day visit to Africa.

Around half of DR Congo’s population is Catholic – the largest Catholic community in Africa.

Speaking at the mass, the Catholic leader called for peace in DR Congo, saying warring sides should forgive one another and grant their opponents a “great amnesty of the heart”.

He went on to espouse the benefits of cleansing one’s heart of “anger and remorse, of every trace of resentment and hostility”.

Wednesday’s mass was tipped to be one of the pope’s largest-ever masses, second only to one held in the Philippines in 2014, according to Christopher Lamb, the Rome correspondent of the Catholic magazine The Tablet.

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