PAPAL TRIP TO THAILAND AND JAPAN STARTS THIS EVENING – CARDINAL PAROLIN: POPE TRAVELS TO THAILAND, JAPAN TO PROMOTE LIFE AND PEACE – TUESDAY IN THE VATICAN

I get an email daily from http://www.FranciscanMedia.org about the saint of the day and today I thought that perhaps you’d be interested in a saint from Assisi with whom you might not be that familiar – St. Agnes! Here is her story….

Born Caterina Offreducia, Agnes was the younger sister of Saint Clare, and her first follower. When Caterina left home two weeks after Clare’s departure, their family attempted to bring her back by force. They tried to drag her out of the monastery, but her body suddenly became so heavy that several knights could not budge it. Her uncle Monaldo tried to strike her but was temporarily paralyzed. The knights then left Caterina and Clare in peace. Saint Francis himself gave Clare’s sister the name Agnes, because she was gentle like a young lamb.

Agnes matched her sister in devotion to prayer and in willingness to endure the strict penances that characterized the Poor Ladies’ lives at San Damiano. In 1221, a group of Benedictine nuns in Monticelli near Florence asked to become Poor Ladies. Saint Clare sent Agnes to become abbess of that monastery. Agnes soon wrote a rather sad letter about how much she missed Clare and the other nuns at San Damiano. After establishing other monasteries of Poor Ladies in northern Italy, Agnes was recalled to San Damiano in 1253, as Clare lay dying.

Three months later Agnes followed Clare in death, and was canonized in 1753.

Reflection: God must love irony; the world is so full of it. In 1212, many in Assisi surely felt that Clare and Agnes were wasting their lives and were turning their backs on the world. In reality, their lives were tremendously life-giving, and the world has been enriched by the example of these poor contemplatives.

PAPAL TRIP TO THAILAND AND JAPAN STARTS THIS EVENING

Pope Francis is expected to start his 32nd foreign apostolic trip today when he departs the Santa Marta residence this evening about 6:20 for Rome’s Fiumicino Airport for his flight to Bangkok, Thailand, the first leg of his trip to Asia. He will also visit Japan before returning to Rome.

The papal plane is scheduled to leave at 7 pm, Rome time, arriving Wednesday, November 20 at 12:30 local time at Bangkok’s Military Air Terminal 2 where there will be an official welcome ceremony. Interestingly, it seem that no Thai media will be on the papal plane but Japan is present with nine media representatives out of an estimated 70 press people aboard the plane.

No events are planned for the Pope and his entourage on Wednesday. On Thursday, however, his Thai visit starts with a welcome ceremony at 9 am local time at the Government House where he will meet the prime minister and then a greeting and speech to civil authorities and members of the diplomatic corps.

CARDINAL PAROLIN: POPE TRAVELS TO THAILAND, JAPAN TO PROMOTE LIFE AND PEACE

In the run-up to Pope Francis’ Apostolic Journey to Thailand and Japan, Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin says the Pope will highlight the themes of mission, environmental protection, and peace.

By Devin Watkins (vaticannews.va)

Pope Francis travels to Thailand from 19-23 November, and to Japan from 23-26, as part of his 32nd Apostolic Journey.

In an interview with Vatican News’ Massimiliano Menichetti on Monday, the Vatican Secretary of State gave some indication about the Pope’s hopes and the themes he intends to highlight.

Centered on the human person
Cardinal Pietro Parolin said the world has undergone vast changes since Pope St. John Paul II visited Thailand in May 1984 and Japan in February 1981. Globalization, he said, has made it much smaller, allowing people to speak face-to-face despite stunning physical distances.

But, he added, Pope Francis wants to travel to far-flung places in order to encounter people in the flesh, because, “the human person lies at the heart of the Church’s attention.” The Church must proclaim the Gospel to each and every person, the Cardinal said, to help them answer life’s difficult questions and to help them find meaning.

Thailand: Missionary disciples
Asked about the visit to Thailand, Cardinal Parolin said Pope Francis is following in the footsteps of the Jesuit missionaries who first proclaimed the Gospel there 350 years ago. Thus, he said, an important part of the Pope’s message will regard the Christian call to be missionary disciples.

Cardinal Parolin said the Pope will likely encourage the estimated 400,000 Catholics in Thailand to open themselves to the Holy Spirit, “the true protagonist” of the mission. Mission, he said, “is fulfilled in a fullness that transforms itself into attraction and witness.”

Japan: Denuclearization and peace
Cardinal Parolin then turned to the second part of the Pope’s visit.

“The Japan leg of the journey will be particularly important,” he said, adding that the Pope will likely encourage efforts toward denuclearization.

The Cardinal called Japan “a complex nation” that has “suffered greatly” due to the two nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, though it has made a magnificent recovery. He said the nation finds itself “between tradition and innovation,” as it searches for responses to global problems.

While in Japan, he said, the Pope will touch on “care for our common home, the pursuit of peace, and disarmament as a requisite for peace.”

Pope hopes to share people’s lives
Finally, the Cardinal Secretary of State said Pope Francis travels to Asia to be “close the people entrusted to him, desiring to share their joys, expectations, and hopes, as well as their sorrows, sufferings, and contradictions.”

As the Pope meets with the local Catholic communities, Cardinal Parolin said, he will also proclaim several messages that are “valid for the whole world and the entire Church.”

These, he concluded, include the message of the mission as a foundational element of the Christian experience, the protection of creation, and the promotion of peace in a fragmented and conflictual world.

TUESDAY IN THE VATICAN

The Pope prays at Saint Mary Major for his trip to Asia
Pope Francis entrusts the Virgin Mary with his apostolic journey that from Tuesday until 26th November will take him to Thailand and Japan. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-11/the-pope-prays-at-saint-mary-major-for-his-trip-to-asia.html

The Holy See ratifies the Addis Ababa Convention on Higher Education
The Convention, already adopted on 12 December 2014, will enter into force on 15 December 2020 and represents a legal recognition also to Catholic universities that will allow students to finish their studies abroad and to find a job in another country, in this case in Africa. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/vatican-city/news/2019-11/the-holy-see-ratifies-the-addis-ababa-convention-on-higher-educa.html

Pope’s interpreter in Japan is his former student from Argentina
As Japan prepares to welcome Pope Francis on Saturday, Fr Renzo De Luca, SJ, recalls his friendly relationship with the Pope, their time together in Argentina, and what it will be like to act as his interpreter into Japanese. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/church/news/2019-11/pope-francis-japan-translator-former-argentine-student.html

‘Work takes priority over religion in Japan’, says Oblate priest ahead of Pope’s visit
Ahead of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Journey to Japan, an OMI missionary priest explores how the face of the local Catholic Church is changing and the challenges of preaching the Gospel where people give priority to work, not religion. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/church/news/2019-11/omi-missionaries-japan-rozairo-mission-to-migrants.html