The program of the visit is published. After John Paul II, Francis will be the second pontiff to visit the two countries.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Next November, Pope Francis will return to Asia for an apostolic journey to Thailand (20-23) and Japan (23-26). After John Paul II, Francis will be the second pontiff to visit the two countries.
The program of the trip, announced today, indicates the departure from Rome at 7 pm on November 19th and the arrival in Bangkok at 12.30 pm on 20. There will be an official reception at the Military Air Terminal 2.
The trip to Thailand, which has the motto "Disciples of Christ, missionary disciples", wants to be a reminder of the 350th anniversary of the institution of the Apostolic Vicariate of Siam, erected in 1669.
On the morning of the 21st Francis will go to Government House, where there will be a welcome ceremony and a meeting with the prime minister. Then, in the "Inner Santi Maitri" Hall, the Pope will deliver a speech meeting the authorities, civil society and the diplomatic corps.
On the same day, Francis will visit the Supreme Patriarch of the Buddhists at the Wat Ratchabophit Sathit Maha Simaram Temple.
Later he will go to the St. Louis Hospital where he will meet healthcare workers and sick people.
In the afternoon, a private visit to King Maha Vajiralongkorn "Rama X". The last engagement of the day, the setting in the National Stadium.
On the 22nd, in the parish of St. Peter the meeting with priests, religious and seminarians and catechists and then, in the Sanctuary of Blessed Nicholas Boonkerd Kitbamrung, with the bishops of Thailand and the FABC. Then, in a room adjacent to the Sanctuary, a private meeting with the members of the Society of Jesus. After lunch, he will meet Christian leaders and those from other regions to whom he will address a speech at Chulalongkorn University. At the end of the day, Mass with the young people in the Cathedral of the Assumption.
On the 23rd he will leave from Bangkok bound for Japan. The motto of this part of the journey, "Protect every life", with the "f" in the word "life" in the shape of a cross.
Arriving at 5.40 pm at the Tokyo-Haneda airport, Francis will have his first appointment with the bishops at the nunciature.
Sunday 24 will be marked by visits to Nagasaki and Hiroshima. In the first, where he will arrive by plane from Tokyo, he will deliver a "Message on nuclear weapons" at the Atomic Bomb Hypocenter Park and a "Tribute to the Holy Martyrs" at the Monument of Martyrs Nishizaka Hill, with his greeting and the recitation of the Angelus.
In the afternoon, Mass will take place at the baseball stadium. Then the departure for Hiroshima where he will address a message to the Peace Meeting at the Peace Memorial. In the evening, he will return to Tokyo.
In the capital, on the 25th, the Pope will meet the victims of the Triple Disaster (as the Fukushima catastrophe is called in Japan) in "Bellesalle Hanzomon" and, later, he will make a private visit to Emperor Naruhito at the Imperial Palace.
Then, in the Saint Mary Cathedral he will meet with the young people.
In the afternoon, Mass is scheduled in Tokyo Dome and later there will be a meeting with the prime minister, the authorities and the diplomatic corps in Kantei.
The last day of the apostolic journey will open with the private celebration with the members of the Society of Jesus in the chapel of the Kulturzentrum of Sophia University. Then the private meeting with the Maximum College in Sophia University, where Francis will also visit elderly and sick priests and then give a speech.
At 11.35am the farewell ceremony will take place at Tokyo-Haneda airport where Pope FRancis will departfor Rome, with an expected arrival at 5.15pm local time.