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  • Donovan Pintol

CBC Press Conference: Pope's Visit Confirmed

Gordons, Port Moresby: The Pope’s visit is now confirmed as per the Annual General Meeting press conference that was held on Thursday the 18th of April.

The panellists representing the Bishops in the press conference were the Bishop of Bereina, and the Catholic Bishops Conference of Papua New Guinea & Solomon Islands President Otto Separy, Bishop of Vanimo Francis Meli, Bishop of Lae Rozario Menezes and His Eminence, Sir John Cardinal Ribat MSC from the Port Moresby Archdiocese.

Addressing the press as the first panellist was Bishop Otto Separy, who told them that with the long-standing rumour and prayers for the Pope’s Visit to PNG, the Vatican has released an official answer for the visit on the 12th of April.

“The Pope is now confirmed to be coming to Papua New Guinea”, said Bishop Otto. “His journey will start on the 6th and end on the 9th of September this year”.

Adding more to his official statement, Bishop Otto also highlighted that the Pope’s visit will be a special visit as his Holiness will be coming for both a “State Visit” and “as a Pastoral leader and the head of the Catholic Church”.

The official locations within Papua New Guinea as disclosed by Bishop Otto were Port Moresby and Vanimo.

Breaking it down for the state visit into tentative programs and schedule for the 3 days, Bishop Rozario as second panellist told the press that the Pope will be arriving in Port Moresby on the 6th of September from Jakarta, Indonesia.

As per the visit schedule from the Vatican, the Pope will be coming to PNG after visiting Indonesia, then to East Timor, and then Singapore before returning to Rome.

Bishop Rozario also highlighted that the Pope will be visiting scheduled places within Port Moresby for the first and the half of the second day. Before leaving for Vanimo at around 2 pm and returning at around 8 pm.

Adding more to the trip to Vanimo, Bishop Francis Meli told the Press that the Pope specifically requested the trip to Vanimo for several reasons.

One is that he would like to visit the peripheries, and as it may seem, Vanimo is one of these still developing places in PNG that he would like to visit.

And, on the other hand, the Pope’s visit to the place is for him to see for himself the first-hand work of evangelization of the missionaries in Vanimo.

His Eminence Sir John Cardinal Ribat who is the shepherd and administrator of the hosting Archdiocese as the final panellist told the press that it is of grave respect and privilege for the Pope to include Papua New Guinea in his visits.

"As known, the Pope is in his 80s and not in good health condition but yet decided to travel from one side of the globe to PNG".

Cardinal Ribat concluded by asking the Catholic faithful and people of goodwill to keep His Holiness in their prayers for him to have good health and a successful Apostolic Journey without harm.

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