In his role as president of the Federation of Catholic Bishops Conferences Oceania, Bishop Anthony Randazzo said he believes the Holy Father will receive an especially warm welcome when he visits Papua New Guinea in August this year for a three-day visit.
“Papua New Guinea has around two million Catholics or about 26 percent 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.”
Although the Pope’s full itinerary has not yet been released, he will initially fly into the capital, Port Moresby.
Pope Francis , 87, will be only the second pontiff to visit PNG. Pope John Paul II visited in 1984 and then in 1995. This will be Pope Francis’ first time to Papua New Guinea and the first time he has visited Oceania. It will also be the longest foreign trip of his pontificate.
“The Church in Oceania reaches from the West Coast of Australia across the many Islands of the Pacific stretching across both the Southern and Northern hemispheres. Many peoples and cultures, lands and waterways united in one confession of faith in Jesus Christ,” Bishop Anthony said,
“Working together is not merely a choice, it is an essential way for ministry, life, and mission. I am sure this is something the Holy Father will experience when he visits PNG,”
The full Media Release can be found here.