Pope Francis will Visit Indonesia in September

Indonesia's Minister of Religious Affairs, Yakut Cholil Qoumas, announced that Pope Francis will visit Indonesia in September 2024 as part of a tour of four Far Eastern countries. The official stated that he received a letter confirming the visit from the Holy See in the Vatican. The minister called Pope Francis's planned visit a great honor for the Indonesian people and reminded that the country's president, Joko Widodo, was eagerly awaiting it.
Photo: biletik.aero
"Praise the Lord that after two years of waiting, Pope Francis will finally be able to visit Indonesia. I think this is a special gift, especially for Catholics," said Qoumas. Continuing, the minister noted that Indonesia values tolerance and peace among followers of all religions.
Pope Francis had planned to visit Indonesia in 2020. However, this plan was not realized due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In June 2022, Minister Qoumas sent another invitation to the Vatican. Pope Francis was expected at the G20 Religious Forum "Religion of Twenty," which took place on November 2-3, 2022. However, the bishop could not personally attend the forum—neither physically nor virtually. And now, finally, the visit may take place.
The Holy See has not yet published a detailed itinerary for the papal trip. However, it is known preliminarily that the Vatican head's journey will last from September 2 to September 13, 2024. He will arrive in the capital of Indonesia on September 3 and stay there until September 6. From Jakarta, the pope will fly to Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea, and visit nearby Vanimo from September 6 to September 9. The pope's journey will continue to Dili, the capital of East Timor, where he will be from September 9 to September 11. Before returning to the Vatican, Pope Francis will spend three days from September 11 to September 13, 2024, in the island state of Singapore. This trip will be the 43rd international apostolic journey.
Despite being the world's largest Muslim-majority country, Catholics make up about 8.1 million people or 3% of the total population in Indonesia. In Papua New Guinea, there are 2 million Catholics, accounting for about 32% of the country's population. In Timor-Leste, which gained independence from Indonesia in 2002, 96% of the population are members of the Catholic Church. Approximately one million people live there. In Singapore, the last stop on the pope's trip, there are 395,000 Catholics, roughly equivalent to 3% of the republic's population.
According to Cardinal Soegiarto of the Indonesian Catholic Church, the pope's visit to Jakarta is also important because the Vatican was one of the first countries to recognize Indonesia's independence.
"In 1947 [2 years after Indonesia declared independence], there was already a Vatican representative in Indonesia. We feel that the leadership of the Catholic Church worldwide seriously pays attention to the struggle for independence," he said. At the same time, Cardinal Soegiarto pointed out that the visit may not take place this time, given the pope's travel plans and his age (87). Therefore, he called on believers to pray for the health of the pope so that he could fulfill his mission.
Recently, there have indeed been reports of the 87-year-old pontiff's poor health. Even all his overseas trips have been suspended. The Asian tour, which is still being planned, is expected to be the longest apostolic visit in Francis's 11-year reign.
Earlier, Pope Francis had visited several Asian countries, including Myanmar, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Thailand, Mongolia, and Japan.
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