Pope announces November visit to Myanmar and Bangladesh
The Vatican has announced that Pope Francis will travel to Myanmar (November 27-30) and to Bangladesh (November 30-December 2). This is the first visit of a Pope to Myanmar and the second visit of a Pope to Bangladesh, 31 years after John Paul II’s trip in November 1986.
The director of the Holy See Press Office, Greg Burke, issued a statement on Monday, 28August saying that, “welcoming the invitation of the respective Heads of State and Bishops, His Holiness Pope Francis will make an Apostolic Visit to Myanmar from November 27-30, 2017, visiting the cities of Yangon and Nay Pyi Taw, and to Bangladesh from November 30-December 2, 2017, visiting the city of Dhaka. The program for the visit will be published shortly.”
On 14 February 2015, Pope Francis created the first cardinal from Myanmar, Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, Archbishop of Yangon. He is a Salesian of Saint John Bosco. Cardinal Patrick D’Rozario, Archbishop of Dhaka and a professed member of the Congregation of Holy Cross, became the first cardinal of Bangladesh on 19 November 2016.
In Burma (population51 million) Catholics are only1 percent of the population, with three Archdioceses: (Mandalay, Taunggyi, Yangon) and 13 dioceses. In Bangladesh (about 156 million people), Islam is the State religion: 90 percent are Muslim, eight percent Hindu, two percent represent other religions. Christians are about one percent, half of them Catholics — a small community of about 350,000 people.
STATEMENT FROM THE CATHOLIC BISHOPS’ CONFERENCE OF MYANMAR
Dear Country Men and Women,
With an overwhelming joy and happiness, we the Catholic Bishops of Myanmar are glad to announce to our country men and women, the good news of the historic apostolic pastoral visit of His Holiness Pope Francis to our country. The government of Myanmar has extended a warm welcome with the invitation to the Holy Father, hoping his presence will further peace and harmony of all people.
Pope Francis comes to meet all the people of Myanmar. The four days visitation will take place from 27 to 30 November 2017.
This is also his pastoral visit to the little flock of Catholic Community. With his preferential option for churches in the margin, the Holy Father comes as a shepherd to visit his flock. Apart from meeting the government leaders, the Pope is expected to meet youth, civil society and religious leaders.
Pope Francis is known for his humility, love for the poor, love of nature and special concern for those in the margin. He has always sought the wisdom of all religious leaders in promoting understanding among people. He is known for his efforts to bring compassion and love to the people of the world.
We rejoice with our country men and women that this pilgrimage of Pope Francis to this nation of diverse religions and cultures will prove to be a blessing to all of us, furthering the dreams of our nation towards greater prosperity and peace.
We warmly welcome all to pray for the success of this pastoral visit. We will keep all of you updated of the detailed program in the coming weeks.
In fellowship with our country men and women,
Bishop Felix Lian Khen Thang (President)
Bishop John Saw Yaw Han (General Secretary)
Charles Cardinal Bo (Archbishop of Yangon)
Date : 28 August 2017