Pope Francis  to  Visit Papua New Guinea in September

Friday 19April, 2024

President of the Catholic Bishop Conference (CBC) and Bishop of Bereina , Most Reverend Otto Separy, has  announced  the State Visit  by Pope Francis to Papua New Guinea from 6 – 9 September 2024.

“On the 12th of April 2024, the confirmation was made that the Pope is set to visit Papua New Guinea on the 6th – 9th September, 2024,” stated Bishop Separy. “As PNG is a Christian country, the Pope’s visit is also a spiritual visit. It’s not only for the Catholics, it’s for all Christians.”

Joining him, Most Reverend Bishop Rozario Menezes, Chairman of the Papal visit committee and Bishop of Lae, outlined the Pope’s itinerary during his stay.

 “The Pope will stay at the Vatican Embassy on the 6th of September, 2024, and will pay a visit to the Governor General of PNG,” shared Bishop Menezes. “He will then proceed to APEC Haus to meet with our state leaders on the 7th of September, followed by a gathering with the PNG Council of Churches.”

Highlighting the Pope’s compassionate nature, Bishop Menezes added, “He wants to meet all the disabled and the sick, embodying the spirit of inclusivity and care.”

The Pope’s visit will extend beyond the capital, with a journey to Vanimo on Sunday afternoon, September 7th, before returning to engage with the youth at a festival at  Sir John Guise Stadium, Port Moresby.

His Eminence, Sir John Cardinal Ribat, Archbishop of Port Moresby, expressed the significance of the visit in light of recent challenges faced by the nation.

“The visit is timely and considering all we have gone through this year,” noted Cardinal Ribat. “We had natural disasters affecting our people, and his presence will indeed bless us.”

Reflecting on the Pope’s determination to visit despite his age and health concerns, Cardinal Ribat shared a touching anecdote. “When we asked the Pope if he can visit PNG, he replied, ‘How long will it take to get there?'” recounted Cardinal Ribat. “Mendi Diocese’s Bishop responded saying ‘2 Days,’ leaving the Pope with curiosity.”

The visit holds significance not only for the spiritual community but also for the nation’s global image, as Cardinal Ribat emphasized. “A world leader coming to us will heal our image in the global platform,” he stated. “The church is grateful for the government of PNG to allow this and to provide the much-needed security for the visit.”

Moreover, Cardinal Ribat hinted at a momentous possibility during the visit. “The canonization of Blessed Peter Torot is also a possibility,” he revealed. “If successful, then PNG will have its first Saint”.

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