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Pope Francis releases schedules for Asia, Oceania visits despite fragile health

Pope Francis smiles at a weekly General Audience (Vatican Media)

Pope Francis is set to embark on a 12-day visit to Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste, and Singapore in September, demonstrating his unwavering commitment to his pastoral mission despite health challenges, including a knee injury and bronchitis.

The 87-year-old pontiff will take seven flights, covering more than 20,000 miles, to visit the four nations.

Francis is set to make his first stop in Indonesia, the world's Muslim population.

On September 4, he will meet with Indonesian President Joko Widodo and address the political leaders at the Istana Merdeka Presidential Palace. 

Francis is also scheduled to visit the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption in Jakarta, the country's capital, to meet with bishops, priests, nuns, and seminarians after a meeting with the Jesuits based in Indonesia. 

On the second day of his visit to Indonesia, Francis will preside at an interfaith conference in the Istiqlal Mosque, the largest mosque in Southeast Asia.

He is set to say a Mass in Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta on September 5 after meeting with recipients from charity groups in Indonesia. 

The stadium could seat an audience of 77,000. 

After concluding his visit to Indonesia, Francis will fly about 3,000 miles to Papua New Guinea on September 6.

On September 7, he will meet with leaders of local ministries caring for street kids and persons with disabilities. 

On the same day, Francis will address the clergy at the Shrine of Mary Help of Christians in Port Moresby, the country's capital. He is also scheduled to deliver a speech to Papuan political leaders. 

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape will meet him before he presides a Mass at Sir John Guise Stadium in the capital. 

Francis' schedules for his visit to Papua New Guinea includes visiting Vanimo, a city in the northwest of the country. He will meet with missionaries and address the faithful at the Holy Cross Cathedral. 

After visiting Vanimo, Francis will fly back to Port Moresby on Sunday. 

On September 9, the pope will visit Timor-Leste land in Timor-Leste, the UN-member state with the highest percentage of Catholics (97 percent). 

He is expected to see children with disabilities in Dili, the country's capital. 

Here, Francis will also meet with the local clergy and religious in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception deliver a speech at the Presidential Palace, and preside over a Mass in the Esplanade of Taci Tolu. 

Then he will fly to Singapore for his fourth and final visit to Southeast Asia and Oceania. 

He will land at Changi International Airport on September 11. 

The following day, Francis will meet with Singaporean President Tharman Shanmugaratnam and Prime Minister Lawrence Wong. 

After he meets with the Singaporean leaders, the pope will proceed to the SportsHub National Stadium to preside over a Mass. 

Francis is also expected by the youth in Singapore at an interfaith meeting at the Catholic Junior College. He is also set to see a group of elderly people. 

After Singapore, Francis will fly 6,000 miles back to Rome on a chartered Singapore Airlines on September 13.

On his last day in Asia, the pope will preside over an interreligious meeting with young people in Singapore’s Catholic Junior College and visit a group of elderly people.

He will make the 6,000-mile journey back to Italy on a chartered Singapore Airlines flight scheduled to land in Rome at 6:25 p.m. on Sept. 13.


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.