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Pope Francis to visit East Timor from September 9 to 11

Pope Francis

Pope Francis will visit East Timor, along with the other two Asian countries, and Papua New Guinea (PNG) in Oceania in September.

The Holy Father will be in East Timor from September 9 to 11, the Vatican announced on April 12, 2024.

The same news was also announced by Cardinal Virgilio do Carmo da Silva, and the Vatican ambassador in Timor-Leste, Monsignor Marco Sprizzi, in Dili.

The other Asian countries the 87-year-old Holy Father will travel to are Indonesia, Singapore, and Papua New Guinea (PNG) in Oceania, despite his health conditions. 

On April 12, addressing a joint press conference along with Monsignor Sprizzi in Dili, the capital of East Timor, Cardinal Carmo da Silva, said, “We have the great joy and high honor of officially announcing the date of the Apostolic Visit of His Holiness Pope Francis in East Timor, transmitted by the Holy See through the Apostolic Nunciature.”

Carmo da Silva is the Metropolitan Archbishop of Dili, Pro-President of the Timorese Episcopal Conference, and General Coordinator of the Church Team for the Visit of the Holy Father in Timor-Leste.

“The Pope's visit will be a historic event for the Timorese people, who ardently desired the presence of the Holy Father in this blessed land, where simple people live with originality and supreme faith in Christ Jesus,” the cardinal said. 

Since 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed the Pope's official visit to Timor. 

“And today, we thank the Pope for confirming his arrival in Timor with immense joy. As a sign of our gratitude and love for the Holy Father, the Church's preparation team is working tirelessly, together with the Apostolic Nunciature, to complete this visit of the Successor of Saint Peter, Pastor Universal of the Church,” the cardinal said. 

He also thanked the government of East Timor, the tiny Catholic-majority nation.

“We also extend our gratitude to the State of Timor-Leste, the President of the Republic, José Ramos-Horta, Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão, and the government's visit preparation team for their excellent collaboration and effort in organizing and logistically preparing the visit, enabling all Timorese faithful to participate and join the Holy Father, who is primarily there to strengthen the Church in Timor-Leste in the faith and love of Christ,” the cardinal said.

Speaking to the Catholics of the country, the cardinal and Monsignor Sprizzi, the charge d’affaires at the Apostolic Nunciature in Timor Leste, said, “On behalf of the Episcopal Timorese Conference and the Apostolic Nunciature in East Timor, we appeal to all of you, dear brothers and sisters, to collaborate and work together during this preparation time.”

“And above all, let us prepare ourselves with an intense prayer to welcome the Holy Father, so that his visit may be a moment in which we reinvigorate our participation in the construction of our ecclesiastical and civil communities, in the experience of our faith, and in the purification of our culture.”

After Pope John Paul II's 1989 visit, Pope Francis will be the second pope to visit Timor-Leste.

Earlier, it was reported that Archbishop Paul R. Gallagher, the Vatican’s Secretary for Relations with States and International Organizations, disclosed Asia's journey with Pope Francis, including Indonesia,Vietnam, Singapore, and Papua New Guinea

Ninety-seven percent of the 1.4 million Timorese people, spread across the dioceses of Maliana, Baucau, and Dili, identify as Catholics.

Despite the country's abundance of natural resources, such as gas and oil, about 42% of people live in poverty and lack access to education and jobs, according to the United Nations Development Program. 


Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.”  Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.