Federation of Catholic Bishops Conferences of Oceania president Bishop Anthony Randazzo has welcomed the news that Pope Francis will visit Papua New Guinea in August. Source: ACBC Media Blog.
Bishop Randazzo, who is the Bishop of Broken Bay Diocese, said he believed the people of PNG will be looking forward to the three-day visit from the Holy Father, which will begin in the capital, Port Moresby.
“Papua New Guinea has around two million Catholics or about 26 per cent of the population,” Bishop Randazzo said.
“However, I am sure all religious leaders, churches, and government leaders look forward to providing a warm, traditional cultural welcome.
“The first visit from the Pope to a Pacific nation like Papua New Guinea in our Oceania region in nearly 30 years will mean a great deal to the people.”
The August visit will be the third time a Pope has visited PNG. Pope John Paul II visited twice, first in 1984 and then again in 1995. This will be Pope Francis’ first time to Papua New Guinea.
The Pope, 87, is also expected to visit one of two coastal cities in the country’s north.
A papal visit to PNG, East Timor and Indonesia had been planned for 2020, but was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Church in Oceania covers an immense area, reaching from the west coast of Australia across the many islands of the Pacific and stretching across both the Southern and Northern Hemispheres.
“The region comprises many peoples and cultures, lands and waterways united in one confession of faith in Jesus Christ,” Bishop Randazzo said.
“I understand Pope Francis has been very keen to visit Oceania for a number of years. We are looking forward to the release of further details on the itinerary.”
Pope Francis’ visit to Papua New Guinea welcomed as ‘meaningful’ (ACBC Media Blog)