His Holiness Pope Francis To Hold Apostolic Visit To The Kingdom Of Thailand In November


Friday November 1, 2019


SIAM LIVING
By: MARICEL DIAZ

Fulfilling the promise he made to visit Thailand, the Apostolic Nuncio of the Holy See in Thailand officially announced that His Holiness Pope Francis will go to Thailand in November. His Excellency Archbishop Paul Tschang In-Tam and His Eminence Cardinal Francis-Xavier Kriengsak Kovithavanij said the visit will take place on 20-23 November as a “pilgrim of peace and to promote inter-religious dialogue”. During the 4-day visit, Pope Francis will preside over two masses and pastoral visits to the Catholic communities.

Thailand’s major religious practice is Buddhism but in the Thai context, there is historical evidence that Roman Catholicism was first introduced to Siam (Thailand’s former name) by Dominican missionaries in 1567 during the time when Ayutthaya was still the capital. On the side of the Holy See, the first and only Papal visit thus far was made by Saint Pope John Paul II 35 years ago. He met with Their Majesties King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit in Bangkok. The statue of Pope John Paull II still stands in front of Assumption Cathedral in Bangkok to commemorate the historic visit. At present, Thailand has 388,468 Catholics in the country in 11 dioceses, with a total population of some 69 million people.

According to Monsignor Andrew Visanu Thanya-anan, deputy secretary of The Catholic Bishops’ Conference in Thailand “everyone is welcomed to come”. His Holiness will arrive in Thailand on November 20 around noon at the Military Air Terminal 2 with an official welcome ceremony. The next day, November 21, His Holiness will meet with the Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha and other government officials, authorities, civil society officials and diplomatic corps at the Government House. Then it will be at Wat Ratchabopit Sathit Maha Simaram Temple to visit the Supreme Buddhist Patriarch. He will then proceed to St. Louis Hospital to meet the medical staff and have a private visit with the infirm and disabled. His Holiness is also set to have a private visit to His Majesty The King Maha Vajiralongkorn “Rama X” at Amphorn Royal Palace. Later in the afternoon, the public will have a chance to attend a Holy Mass at the National Stadium with the Holy Father delivering the homily.

On his third day in Bangkok, November 22, Friday, Pope Francis is set to have a meeting with different religious groups, priests, seminarians and catechists as well as with the Bishops of Thailand and FABC, members of the Society of Jesus, leaders of the Christian denominations and other religions in separate events throughout the day. His Holiness will also hold a Holy Mass with young people on the same day in the Cathedral of the Assumption, one of the two main public activities of his apostolic journey here in Thailand.

On November 23, Pope Francis will be given a sendoff with a farewell ceremony at Military Air Terminal 2 before he departs Bangkok.

After his visit in Thailand, His Holiness will visit Tokyo, Nagasaki and Hiroshima to meet Emperor Naruhito and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

You can also check the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Thailand for more updates on Pope Francis Apostolic Visit to Thailand.



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