11 July 2024

Pope Francis ended his three-day visit to Thailand Saturday morning and continued his apostolic trip to Japan.

He flew out of the Don Muang military airport on his papal plane shortly after 10 am.  Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak represented the Thai government in a ceremony to send off the pontiff.

While in Thailand, Pope Francis invited the country’s Catholics to live their faith as missionary disciples, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  He also urged all religious faiths to work together to overcome global challenges, including the scourge of human trafficking.

He will be the first head of the Roman Catholic Church to visit Japan in 38 years. According to Vatican News, he will head straight for the Apostolic Nunciature in Tokyo, where he will meet with the nation’s Bishops on Saturday evening.

The Pope’s schedule for Sunday sees him fly to Nagasaki and Hiroshima to pray at the only two places where nuclear weapons were used during war.

In Nagasaki he will also pay homage to the Japanese martyrs who died during the persecutions of Catholics in the 17th century.

On Monday, the Pope will spend time with the faithful in Tokyo, and meet with government authorities.

The Pope returns to Rome on Monday after meeting local Jesuits and their students at Sophia University.