Pope Francis will make his first Papua New Guinea visit in August, marking the first time the Holy Father has visited an Oceanian nation during his pontificate.
Catholic Bishops Conference of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands general secretary Father Victor Roche confirmed the Pope would visit for 3 to 4 days, with his first stop being in Port Moresby, the nation’s capital.
Papua New Guinea is part of the Federation of Catholic Bishops Conferences of Oceania, of which Bishop Anthony Randazzo, Bishop of Broken Bay, is the president.
Bishop Randazzo 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 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.”
The August visit will be only the third time a Pope has visited the country. 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.
Australia shares a close connection with the Church in Papua New Guinea. Many Australian priests have been sent as missionaries to the pacific nation and some have even served as Bishops.
Archbishop Douglas William Young SVD, is currently serving as the Archbishop of Mount Hagen.
“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.”