WelCom November 2019
Pope Francis’ next Apostolic Journey will see him visiting two Asian countries: the Kingdom of Thailand, from 20 to 23 November, and Japan from 23 to 26 November, where he will visit Tokyo, Nagasaki and Hiroshima.
The motto of the first stage of the Apostolic Journey is ‘Disciples of Christ, Missionary Disciples’, and is a reference to the 350th anniversary of the establishment of the Apostolic Vicariate of Siam, erected in 1669.
In January this year, Pope Francis sent a message to the meeting of Presidents of the Doctrinal Commissions of the Bishops’ Conferences of Asia, and a delegation of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in Bangkok. ‘You are gathered in Asia, a vast and multiform continent, marked by religious, linguistic and cultural diversity’, wrote the Pope, ‘in order to reaffirm our common responsibility for the unity and integrity of the Catholic faith, as well as to explore new means and methods of witnessing to the Gospel in the midst of the challenges of our contemporary world’.
The theme of the Apostolic Journey to Japan focuses on the protection of life and Creation, and is quoted from a phase in ‘A prayer for our earth’ at the end of the Pope’s Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’, on caring for our common home, in which the Pope encourages us to respect both the dignity of each person, but also the environment.