The Pope Coming To Thailand in November

Pope Francis is to visit Thailand in November before heading to Japan, according to an unconfirmed report.

If the report is confirmed, he will become only the second pope to visit Thailand following St. John Paul II, who met King Bhumibol Adulyadej on May 10, 1984, during an apostolic visit to Bangkok.

The Catholic Church in Thailand is celebrating the 350th anniversary of the Vatican’s Mission de Siam.

The pope is due to visit Tokyo, Nagasaki and Hiroshima in Japan from Nov. 23-26. His official schedule for his Asian trip will be announced in due course, Il Sismografo website reported.

Since the foundation of Mission de Siam in 1669, Missions Etrangeres de Paris missionaries, with the support of other religious congregations, have led evangelization efforts in Thailand and other parts of Asia.

As of 2018, there were 379,975 Catholics in Thailand, a figure that represents 0.46 percent of its population of 69 million. The country has 12 dioceses with 436 parishes and 662 priests.

Pope Francis confirmed his visit to Japan in January after speaking last September about his intention to visit the country.

Cardinal Manyo Maeda of Osaka and the archbishops of Tokyo and Nagasaki met the pope at the Vatican on Dec. 17.

Cardinal Maeda is from Nagasaki and was bishop of Hiroshima from 2011-14. Both cities were devastated by nuclear bombs in World War II.

The cardinal told the pope that he felt strongly that Francis should speak in Japan against nuclear weapons.

“The pope said that not only the use of nuclear weapons but even making them is unethical,” Cardinal Maeda said.