MUMBAI, India – Pope Francis will visit three countries in Asia and one in Oceania, according to a Vatican statement released on Friday.

Francis is scheduled to leave Rome on September 2 and return to the Vatican on September 13.

He travels first to Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, where he will land on September 3 and leave September 6. He will then travel to Papua New Guinea, visiting on September 6-9.

From September 9-11 he will be in Timor-Leste, before ending his Asia trip in Singapore.

There is a large variety of Catholic populations in these countries. Indonesia is the world’s largest Muslim-majority country, and Catholics number over 8 million, or 3.1 percent of the population.

Papua New Guinea has a population of around 2 million, or 32 percent, while Timor-Este is 96 percent Catholic, over 1 million people. Singapore has 395,000 Catholics, around 3 percent of the population.

Cardinal Ignatius Suharyo of Jakarta said the news that Francis will be visiting Indonesia “was received very enthusiastically, not only by Catholics.”

“The first announcement was given by the Minister of Religious Affairs. And during an interreligious meeting during the month of Ramadhan, the Great Imam of the State Mosque Istiqlal also announced the coming visit for the second time,” the cardinal told Crux.

“For several reasons the President of the Bishops’ Conference of Indonesia formally announced the coming visit only on the Feast of Annunciation, April 8, 2024,” he said.

“Actually, Pope Francis had decided to visit Indonesia in 2020, but then arrived the unexpected COVID-19,” Suharyo said.

“We ask our people to pray much for this visit planned in the first week of September, especially for the health of Pope Francis,” the cardinal continued.

“We also urge our faithful to prepare well the visit by deepening the messages of Pope Francis given in different encyclical letters and Apostolic Exhortation such as, Laudato Si’, Fratelli Tutti, Evangelii Gaudium, and Gaudete et Exultate – on the call to holiness in today’s world,” he said.

Suharyo said the motto of the visit to Indonesia will be: Faith, Brother-Sisterhood, Compassion.

Archbishop Antonius Subianto Bunjamin of Merauke, the President of the Indonesian Bishops’ Conference (KWI), said the visit of Francis “will give us, the Church and the nation the positive impact because the Holy Father is not only the Shepherd of the Catholic Church but also the Father of humanity bringing peace and offering mercy.”

“Of course, the visit of the Holy Father is a blessing for the Church and the country,” he said.

“May this visit be a moral and spiritual encouragement for us all to live out the values of Pancasila that are in line with Christian value. May this visit strengthen our sense of ‘fratelli tutti’,” the archbishop said.

the Archbishop of Singapore, Cardinal William Goh, also welcomed the pope’s upcoming visit.

“It has been 38 years since we had a visit from the Vicar of Christ to Singapore, when Pope St. John Paul II honored us with a visit on 20 November 1986,” the cardinal said in a statement.

“It is my hope that this visit of the Holy Father, Pope Francis, will bring renewed fervor to all Catholics in Singapore, uniting them in faith and mission, especially in these most challenging of times,” he said.