Pope to visit Thailand and Japan

Pope Francis accepting an invitation by the Thai Ambassador to the Holy See to visit her country

Pope Francis will visit Thailand and Japan in November in a visit expected to highlight his call for complete nuclear disarmament and honor the small Catholic communities in each country.

The Vatican confirmed the trip from 19 to 26 November. Pope Francis will be in Thailand from November 20 to 23 before heading to Japan, where government spokesman said the pope would meet with the emperor and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Although details of the programmes have not been announced as they are still being fine tuned with the respective authorities and local Churches the Vatican Press Office gave details of the logos and themes of the two laps of the voyage.

Thailand

The logo for the Thai visit is: Christ’s Disciples – Missionary Disciples and the visit will coincide with the commemoration of the 350th anniversary of the foundation of the Siam Mission.

The Catholics are united to inherit to their young generation the journey of the Church with the proclamation of the Good News.

The Cross with three sails, in the logo, represents the Holy Trinity that led the missioners to the Siam Mission.

The bow of the ship reminds us of God’s request: “Go out to the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to all creation”.

The Catholic Church in Thailand must bear testimony to the Good News.

The hand in the logo represents the Virgin Mary who protected the missionaries in the past and continues to patronize the Church in the present.

The book represents the Bible since proclamation of the Good News is based on the Word of God.

Japan

The Theme of Pope Francis’s Visit to Japan is “Protect all life”.

This is a quote from a phase in “A prayer for our earth” at the end of the Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’. Each of us is given life as an image of God, and led to advance toward our eternal homeland with all people. And this world is also designed and maintained by God “to be lived in” (Is. 45,18).

Therefore, in order to “protect all life”, we must respect not only each person’s dignity but also the environment.

However, the earth as “our common home” is now trampled by humankind and groans with pain. Those groans overlap with the distress of all the abandoned people of the world. In Japan today as well, there are a pile of problems related to life and peace, in addition to the issues of economy, environment and relations with neighboring countries.

Moreover, recovery from natural catastrophes and nuclear plant accidents remain as persisting problems.

The Church in Japan is making every effort to protect every life and respond to the various issues related to human life. This theme of Pope’s Visit to Japan expresses our determination to proclaim the Gospel of life brought by Christ, pray and work for peace of Christ.