Singapore To Welcome Pope Francis In September During Pontiff’s South-East Asia Journey

Singapore To Welcome Pope Francis In September During Pontiff’s South-East Asia Journey

connectedtoindia.comUpdated: Monday, April 15, 2024, 05:30 PM IST
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Pope Francis is coming to Singapore on a three-day visit in September 2024. Photo courtesy: Instagram/vaticannews |

Pope Francis, spiritual leader of the global Catholic Christian population, will embark on an Apostolic Journey across parts of South-East Asia from September 2 to 13 this year, and Singapore is on the papal itinerary. The other places he will visit are Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and Timor-Leste.

Announcement of the journey was made on Instagram on Friday by the official ‘Vatican News’ account. Responding with joy, Singapore Minister for Culture, Community and Youth and Second Minister for Law Edwin Tong also posted on Instagram that he had met Pope Francis in January 2022 and they had discussed a papal visit to the island nation.

“So I am very happy to hear that Singapore will be welcoming Pope Francis this September,” wrote minister Tong on the social network.

Giving details of the South-East Asia visit, Vatican News posted: “Pope Francis will make an Apostolic Journey to Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste, and Singapore on September 2-13, 2024.

“The Holy See Press Office made the announcement on Friday, saying the Pope had accepted the invitation of the Heads of State and local Church authorities.

“The Pope is scheduled to depart Rome on his 43rd Apostolic Journey abroad on September 2, travelling first to Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, where he will land on September 3 and remain until September 6. Indonesia is the world’s largest Muslim-majority country, and Catholics number over 8 million, or 3.1 per cent of the population.

“He will then fly east to visit Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea, and Vanimo on September 6-9. Around 32 per cent of Papua New Guinea’s population are Catholic, numbering around 2 million.

“His next stop will be in Dili, the capital of Timor-Leste, on September 9-11. Timor-Leste is overwhelmingly Catholic, accounting for around 96 per cent of the population, counting over 1 million people.

“From there, the Pope will travel to Singapore for a 3-day visit on September 11-13. Some 395,000 Catholics live in Singapore, representing around 3 per cent of the population.”

Minister Edwin Tong recalls “warmth and kindness” of Pope Francis

Describing his meeting with the Pope, the Singapore minister wrote on Instagram: “Two years ago, in January 2022, I had the honour of being granted a brief Audience with His Holiness Pope Francis during a work visit to Vatican City.

“During our brief but illuminating chat, we spoke about issues which struck a deep mutual interest: the importance of harmony, social cohesion and multi-religiosity in a community.

“His Holiness welcomed us, the Singapore delegation, with sincere warmth and kindness. We also spoke briefly about having an opportunity for Singapore to host His Holiness for a visit.”

Pope Francis with Singapore minister Edwin Tong in January 2022, when the latter visited Vatican City. Photo courtesy: Instagram/edwintong

Pope Francis with Singapore minister Edwin Tong in January 2022, when the latter visited Vatican City. Photo courtesy: Instagram/edwintong |

Expressing happiness in his post that the present pontiff’s visit to Singapore would finally take place, Tong continued: “It has been 38 years since the late Pope John Paul II visited us in November 1986, kissing the ground upon his arrival at Changi. Then, 70,000 people thronged the national stadium to attend mass celebrated by the Pope, the first Catholic Pope to visit Singapore.

“Pope Francis’s visit will be a historic visit that Catholics in Singapore will be eagerly looking forward to.

“The Catholic community in Singapore has made strong contributions to strengthening our social fabric as a multicultural and diverse society. His Holiness’ teachings in his third Encyclical, Fratelli Tutti, promote a universal aspiration toward fraternity and social friendship, themes which resonate greatly with our multicultural and religiously diverse [society] in Singapore.

“I look forward to showing Pope Francis our Singaporean hospitality, diversity and harmony, come September. We will work closely with the Church to plan a meaningful visit.”

(The article is published under a mutual content partnership arrangement between The Free Press Journal and Connected To India)

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