The people of the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan on Sunday received an apology from Pope Francis for indefinitely cancelling his visit because of walking problems.
“I feel great regret that I had to postpone this trip, which I am still very keen to make,” he said at his Sunday address before thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square.
“I ask you to pardon me for this. Let us pray together that with the help of God and with medical treatment, I can come to you as soon as possible. We are hopeful,” he said, directly addressing the people and authorities of both countries.
The pope who had hoped to be able to regain at least a partial ability to walk before the trip said he was hopeful his condition would improve to make a visit soon.
Vatican sources have said the pope has been receiving several injections a week for the knee ailment (a torn ligament), as well as physical therapy.
The trip was postponed “in order not to jeopardise the results of the therapy that he is undergoing for his knee”, the Vatican said on Thursday.