OCEANIA/PAPUA NEW GUINEA - Papuan Catholics mourn and pray for the Pope, with warm memories his visit in 1995 - many will be in Rome for the funeral

Monday, 4 April 2005

Port Moresby (Fides Service) - Catholics in the rain forests of Papua New Guinea are mourning John Paul II and praying that he may be “welcomed in heaven”, Divine Word missionary Father Nicholas De Groot told Fides. Father De Groot is stationed in Madang from where he provides pastoral care to Catholics in remote villages in this dense forest area.
“People make spontaneous prayers for the Pope during Mass. These native communities remember the Pope’s visit very well. He came in 1995 like angel from heaven clad in white. On that occasion tribal dancers and chief performed ceremonial dances in honour of the Holy Father ”.
The missionary said: “I will remember him as a Pope who defended the value of human life, and as a great supporter and dispenser of forgiveness and mercy. Everyone here, Catholics and other Christians, respected and loved him and are grieving for his death”.
A group of local Catholics members of the Rome based Italian association “Movimento per un Mondo Migliore”, is flying to Rome for the funeral of Pope John Paul II.
(PA) (Agenzia Fides 4/4/2005 righe 19 parole 195)