Pope Francis’ trip to Myanmar and Bangladesh will offer moments to recognise each nation’s struggle for independence, underline interreligious respect and encourage the local minority Catholic communities.
Pope Francis will visit Myanmar from 27th to 30th November, just months after the Holy See announced it had established full diplomatic relations with the southeast Asian nation. He will meet with Aung San Suu Kyi, the country’s de facto leader and 1991 Nobel Peace Prize winner.
The visit also comes as serious questions have been raised about her government’s treatment of the Rohingya people, who are Muslim.
Pope Francis has appealed for their protection on several occasions, calling the Rohingya, “good people” who “are our brothers and sisters. They have been suffering for years. They have been tortured, killed, just because they want to keep their traditions and their Muslim faith.”
Another highlight on the trip – the pope’s 21st trip abroad in his five-year pontificate – will be meeting with the high-ranking Buddhist monks at the capital’s peace pagoda.
Picture: People hold photos of Myanmar state counselor Aung San Suu Kyi during a 10th October candlelight interfaith prayer service in Yangon. Pope Francis will visit Myanmar from 27th to 30th November. (CNS photo/Soe Zeya Tun, Reuters).