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Pope to visit Thailand, Japan in November

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VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis will finally fulfill his desire to be a missionary to Japan when he visits the country, as well as Thailand, Nov. 20-26, the Vatican announced. Pope Francis will leave Rome Nov. 19, arriving in Thailand for a visit Nov. 20-23, said Matteo Bruni, director of the Vatican press office. He will then fly to Japan and visit Tokyo, Nagasaki and Hiroshima Nov. 23-26, Bruni said Sept. 13. Further details about the trip and an exact schedule were to be released later. The bishops of Thailand have chosen the motto: “Christ’s Disciples … Missionary Disciples” as the theme for the visit to their country. The visit, they said, will mark the 350th anniversary of the “Apostolic Vicariate of Siam Mission.” The special website launched for the visit said that, with the establishment of the vicariate by Pope Clement IX in 1669, “Roman Catholicism was permanently established in Thailand.” This year also marks the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the Kingdom of Thailand and the Holy See in 1969, and the 35th anniversary of the last papal visit to Thailand, which was made by St. Pope John Paul II in 1984, the website said.

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