State Funeral for Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare
By Sir John Cardinal Ribat, MSC, DD, KBE
12 March 2021
Grand Chief Sir Michael Thomas Somare
Cardinal Sir John Ribat and the Archdiocese of Port Moresby has been chosen by the Government and the Family of the Grand Chief to celebrate the Holy Mass for Grand Chief Somare’s State Funeral on 12 March 2021 at the Sir Hubert Murray Stadium in Port Moresby. The Mass will be from 1pm to 5 pm.
The Mass will follow the full Catholic Rite of the Church given that the Grand Chief Sir Michael was a devout and committed member of the Catholic Church to his last moments when he was administered the last sacrament before his passing at the Pacific International Hospital on 26 February 2021.
We will gather as people of God to offer the holy Mass for the repose of the soul of Grand Chief Sir Michael to God, and we will also celebrate his life as the founding Father of the Nation, Papua New Guinea.
The Church and the people of the nation will celebrate the life of the great Grand Chief who has already impacted the lives of many in PNG and the Pacific. The legacy of his life and work will already become a national treasure and symbol for the people and nation.
Grand Chief Somare was and will continue to be a role model of national leadership, dignity and integrity, strong marriage and family life, and strong life of faith in God. The Grand Chief truly lived and practiced his Catholic faith.
The State funeral will farewell the Grand Chief befitting the great man he is. The theme of the celebration is UNITY, something the Grand Chief stood for to bring and keep together a nation of thousand tribes, cultures and over 800 languages and the different churches. Sir Michael was also a symbol of unity amongst our Pacific and Melanesian people. He played a big role politically for the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) and Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG). We therefore will celebrate the life of this great man.
We therefore assure the people the nation that we will show the respect, dignity and decorum that will befit the theme of the celebrations, and that is unity.
All media will be present to make sure everyone, including those who cannot make it to the stadium, can still participate in the celebrations. We will have radio broadcast, television telecast, social media and print media to cover the event.
The National Government and the NCDC will ensure of security, Covid 19 compliance, amenities including toilets, covid 19 requirements of hand wash and sanitizing, St John ambulance and health issues readiness.
We need the following observances during the event – bring a hat, bring your water, bring your mat, bring your hand sanitizer, no mask no entry, and everyone will be expected to give 1.5 meters space when sitting. The celebration is at the hottest time of the day, which entails that persons will be exposed to the heat for about six hours.
All preparations are progressing well towards this great and historic event.
We ask for everyone’s cooperation to ensure a peaceful and memorable celebration with all the respect accorded for the Grand Chief and the holiness of the special occasion.
We ask everyone to continue to pray for fine weather and a peaceful celebration.
Sir John Cardinal Ribat, MSC, DD, KBE
Archbishop of Port Moresby