Minister Tkatchenko Announces Preparations Underway For Papal Visit

Saturday 20 April 2024

The Government of Papua New Guinea, the Catholic Bishops Conference and the Vatican, have begun preparations for the historical visit by head of the Catholic Church, and  Head of State of the Vatican City,  Pope Francis, in September this year.

Foreign Affairs Minister Hon. Justin Tkatchenko announced that an inter-government agencies committee responsible for the Papal visit, has been working since January on the preparations for the week-long visit to ensure that it is a success and a memorable one.

He said the visit of the Pope would be completely different to the normal programs for state visits for the heads  of State and heads of  government and other VIP guests.

Minister Tkatchenko said the Holy See will be accorded an official state visit with a 21-gun salute, guard of honour and respect.

“We’ve got the right people in the right place and we have all very experienced Papua New Guineans who have handled all the visits from the Royal Family to Heads of governments and Heads of State,” Minister Tkatchenko said.”

The Catholic Bishops Conference has recently  confirmed the visit by His Holiness Pope Francis to PNG from  6-9  September, 2024.

Archbishop of Port Moresby Cardinal Sir John Ribat said the four-nation visit planned in 2020 was deferred due to Covid19.

Cardinal Ribat said it’s good news for the Christians because he is a State and a spiritual leader for everyone.

“His visit brings hope and encouragement and also it is a blessing to us.”

“We have to ensure that this visit is not only memorable for him but also for all of us,” Sir John said.

Chairman of the Papal visit Bishop Rozario Menezes said it would be a State visit as well as an apostolic, pastoral and spiritual visit as head of the Catholic Church around the world.

 “We are excited and looking forward for this visit.”

“It is a moment for us to come together as a church and as a country so we can experience the blessings he brings along,” Bishop Menezes said.

Vatican had officially announced this week of the Holy See, Pope Francis’ visit to Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste and Singapore between September 2 to 13.

Upon arrival from Jakarta Indonesia, His Holiness will pay a courtesy visit  on  the Governor General, Grand Chief Sir Bob Dadae at the Government House followed by an audience with the civil society and the diplomatic community at the Apec Haus.

He will hold a public gathering at the Sir John Guise Stadium before his one-day visit to Vanimo, West Sepik.

He will also meet with the youths in Port Moresby upon his return from Vanimo prior to his departure to Timor Leste.

As a lead up to the Papal visit, the Vatican advance team arrived in the country in February and visited Vanimo.

Pope Francis will be the second pontiff to visit PNG. Pope John Paul II was the first head of the Catholic Church to visit Papua New Guinea twice in 1984 and in 1995.

[Featured Image: MSNBC]

Leave a Comment