News by email Donate


REUTERS/Remo Casilli/ File photo
REUTERS/Remo Casilli/ File photo
World News

Pope to embark on Asia trip, his longest ever, in September

by Reuters Journalist

Pope Francis will take his first overseas trip of the year and the longest of his 11-year papacy, traveling to Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste and Singapore from Sept. 2-13, the Vatican said on Friday.

The Asia and Oceania trip has been on the papal agenda for some time, but there had been doubts on whether the 87-year-old pontiff would embark on it given his increasing frailty and a record of skipping engagements due to health problems.

His last international journey was a two-day stay in Marseille, France, in September. In November, he pulled out of a trip to the COP28 climate conference in Dubai because of a lung inflammation.

Francis is now scheduled to be in Jakarta between Sept. 3-6, Port Moresby and Vanimo between Sept. 6-9, Dili Sept. 9-11 and Singapore Sept. 11-13, his spokesman said in a statement.

Vietnam, which had been suggested by Vatican officials as a possible further destination during the nearly two-week long Asia and Oceania trip, was not mentioned.

In recent months, the pope has been suffering on and off from what the Vatican has described as a cold, bronchitis and influenza, and he needs a wheelchair or a cane to move around due to a knee ailment.

His agenda this year also foresees Italian day trips to Venice on April 28, Verona on May 18 and Trieste on July 7, and a visit to Belgium whose dates have not been confirmed, but expected in the second half of September.

The Argentine pope, the first from the so-called Global South, has made reaching out to Asia one of the priorities of his pontificate, during which the Vatican has struck a historic, yet contested, deal with China on bishop appointments.

Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim nation and its 8 million Catholics represent about 3% of the total population. Timor-Leste, along with the Philippines, are Asia's only predominantly Catholic countries.

In Singapore, Catholics comprise about 7% of residents aged 15 or above, a 2020 census showed, while in Papua New Guinea, about 26% of the population are Catholics, according to a religious freedom report by the U.S. State Department.

A Monthly Gift Of $11 Makes A World Of Difference

In a world of fake news there’s never been a greater need for quality Christian journalism. Premier’s mission is to provide the Church with the most up to date and relevant news, told from a Christian perspective. But we can’t do it without you.

Unlike many websites we haven't put up a paywall — we want to keep our journalism free at the point of need and as open as we can. Premier’s news output takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. No one in the USA is sharing news like we are across radio, magazines and online so please help us to continue that today.

For a monthly gift of $11 or more we’d also be able to send you a free copy of the brand new Premier Bible, a wonderful Anglicised version of the NLT packed with exclusive bonus content, reading plan and resources to help you get the most out of scripture.

Your monthly support will make a world of difference. Thank you.

Support Us
Continue the conversation on our Facebook page

Related Articles

Sign up to our newsletter to stay informed with news from a Christian perspective.

News by email