Edwin Tong ‘very happy’ to hear of Pope Francis’ visit, aims to show S’porean hospitality

Minister Edwin Tong met Pope Francis in 2022 during working visit to Vatican City

It has been confirmed that Pope Francis will be making the first papal visit to Singapore in 38 years this September.

Together with the Catholics here, Mr Edwin Tong will also be looking forward to the visit, with the Minister for Culture, Community and Youth saying he was “very happy” to hear about it.

Source: Edwin Tong on Facebook

To that end, the authorities will “work closely with the Church to plan a meaningful visit”, he added.

Edwin Tong looks forward to welcoming Pope Francis

In a Facebook post on Friday (12 April), hours after the papal visit was confirmed, Mr Tong said he was “very happy to hear that Singapore will be welcoming Pope Francis” this September.

Source: Edwin Tong on Facebook

He also looked forward to “showing Pope Francis our Singaporean hospitality, diversity and harmony”.

Calling it a “historic visit”, he noted that Catholics in Singapore will be eagerly anticipating it, adding:

The Catholic community in Singapore has made strong contributions to strengthening our social fabric as a multicultural and diverse society.

Last papal visit was also historic

Mr Tong recalled that the late Pope John Paul II visited Singapore in November 1986.

That visit was also historic as he was the first Catholic pope to visit Singapore.

When he arrived at Changi Airport, he kissed the ground, Mr Tong remembered.

Though he spent just five hours here, he was quite productive as he met then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew and President Wee Kim Wee.

He also presided over a mass at the former National Stadium with roughly 70,000 people in attendance.

Edwin Tong discussed with Pope Francis possibility of visiting S’pore

Mr Tong also had the honour of meeting Pope Francis in person, he said.

This was during a working visit to Vatican City in January 2022. The Pope is the sovereign of the Vatican.

In his Facebook post after the meeting, the minister said the Pope was “warm, humble, and personable” and made it a point to warmly welcome everyone in the Singapore delegation.

Source: Edwin Tong on Facebook

In their “brief but illuminating chat”, they spoke briefly about Singapore hosting the Pontiff for a visit, Mr Tong said.

This looks to be fulfilled just two years and nine months later as Pope Francis finally graces our shores from 11 to 13 Sept.

The authorities will work closely with the Church so that his visit will be meaningful, he added.

Also read: Pope Francis confirmed to visit S’pore, will likely celebrate mass on 12 Sept

Pope Francis confirmed to visit S’pore, will likely celebrate mass on 12 Sept

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Featured image adapted from Edwin Tong on Facebook.

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