VATICAN INSIDER VISITS VICE POSTULATOR FOR VENERABLE FULTON SHEEN – POPE FRANCIS SUMMARIZES ASIA JOURNEY AT GENERAL AUDIENCE – TRANSCIPT OF PAPAL PRESSER ON TOKYO-ROME FLIGHT

VATICAN INSIDER VISITS VICE POSTULATOR FOR VENERABLE FULTON SHEEN

As I mentioned last week in this same spot, you all know by now that the Vatican has approved a miracle through the intercession of Venerable Servant of God Archbishop Fulton Sheen, and the diocese of Peoria in Illinois where he is buried announced on Monday, November 18 that Sheen will be beatified in Peoria on December 21st.

Given that great news, last weekend I re-aired Part I of a conversation I had some time ago with Msgr. Richard Soseman, a pastor in the diocese of Peoria and also the vice postulator of the cause for sainthood of Archbishop Sheen. This weekend, I will re-air Part II of that conversation.

We talk about Msgr’s priestly life, his time studying in Rome and then working at Congregation for clergy, how his life and priesthood was impacted by Sheen, how he was assigned to the cause for sainthood, the role of a vice postulator and the miracle that led to Sheen’s beatification. A second miracle, by the way, is needed for canonization.

So stay tuned after the News and Q&A for Part II of that conversation.

IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at http://www.ewtn.com) or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio, or on http://www.ewtn.com. OUTSIDE THE U.S., you can listen to EWTN radio on our website home page by clicking on the right side where you see “LISTEN TO EWTN.” VI airs at 5am and 9pm ET on Saturdays and 6am ET on Sundays. On the GB-IE feed (which is on SKY in the UK and Ireland), VI airs at 5:30am, 12 noon and 10pm CET on Sundays. Both of these feeds are also available on the EWTN app and on http://www.ewtnradio.net ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: https://www.ewtn.com/radio/audio-archive (write Vatican Insider where it says Search Shows and Episodes)

Here is Part I of my interview with Msgr. Soseman about Venerable Fulton Sheen – soon to be Blessed Fulton Sheen – that aired last weekend: https://soundcloud.com/ewtn-radio/vatican-insider-112319-archbishop-fulton-j-sheen

POPE FRANCIS SUMMARIZES ASIA JOURNEY AT GENERAL AUDIENCE

Though he had to be exhausted after his long and grueling trip to Asia, Pope Francis presided at the Wednesday general audience Wednesday in St. Peter’s Square. As is customary after an apostolic visit, Francis focused the general audience catechesis on his just-completed trip to Thailand and Japan. He began by thanking civil and religious authorities and all those responsible for preparing the visit.

“In Thailand,” said the Pope, “I met with the Supreme Buddhist Patriarch as a sign of esteem and of the importance of promoting respect and cooperation between the religions, and I encouraged the local Church’s support of the sick and poor at Saint Louis hospital. Among the highlights of my visit were the meetings with priests, consecrated men and women, the bishops and finally a group of young people. In the two celebrations of Mass we saw clearly how the Gospel is being inculturated among the Thai people.

“In Japan,” said the Pope, “the motto for my visit was ‘Protect All Life’: a vital theme for a county that experienced the devastation of the atom bomb and more recent disasters. I was able to spend time in prayer at Nagasaki and Hiroshima, where I met with survivors and their families, and I repeated my appeal for the abolition of nuclear weapons. In my meeting with young people, I encouraged them to face the future without fear by opening their hearts to God’s love in prayer and in service of others. I ask you to join me in entrusting the people of Thailand and Japan to God’s loving providence. May he bless them with prosperity and peace.”

During his audience, the Holy Father announced that on Sunday, December 1, he will go to Greccio in Italy’s Lazio region to pray at the site of the first living nativity scene set up here by St. Francis in 1223. It is said that Francis wished to attract pilgrims to the presepe or nativity scene in Greccio and to discourage them from going to the real first Nativity scene in Bethlehem because of the dangers to traveling pilgrims as the Holy Land was then under control of Muslims. Since 1223 there has been a living nativity scene here every Christmas season.

Francis previously visited Greccio on January 4, 2016.

Addressing Italian pilgrims, Pope Francis spoke of Albania and its people who have suffered greatly as a result of an earthquake that struck on Tuesday. The Pope said he was praying for the dead, the injured and their families and was close to all the Albanian people. He also noted that Albania was the first country in Europe that he wanted to visit.

TRANSCIPT OF PAPAL PRESSER ON TOKYO-ROME FLIGHT

Following is the transcript in English of the press conference held aboard the papal flight from Tokyo to Rome yesterday, November 26. As you will read at the end, “This unofficial transcript and translation is a collabortion of journalists at CNA, and its Italian and Spanish language news partners. Every effort is made for accuracy and clarity.”

I will go into detail in a separate post about the Pope’s remarks on Vatican finances, questionable transactions, possible corruption and the use of Peter’s Pence funds for investments such as buying real estate.

https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/full-text-of-pope-francis-in-flight-press-conference-from-japan-36598

POPE FRANCIS’ FINAL DAY IN JAPAN – THERE’S ALSO THIS….

POPE FRANCIS’ FINAL DAY IN JAPAN

Pope at Sophia University in Japan: Seek, find, and spread Divine Wisdom
Pope Francis visits Sophia University in Tokyo at the conclusion of his Apostolic Visit to Japan, and affirms that “quality education should not be the privilege of a few.” (+ VIDEO) https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-11/pope-at-sophia-university-seek-find-and-spread-divine-wisdom.html

Social media takes on personal face as Pope visits Sophia University
As Pope Francis concludes his Apostolic Journey to Japan, students and staff at Sophia University wonder at how they came to greet him in person. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/church/news/2019-11/tokyo-japan-sophia-university-welcomes-pope-francis.html

Pope bids farewell to Japan, leaves hearts overflowing with gratitude
Pope Francis concludes his Apostolic Journey to Japan, fulfilling his dream to be a missionary to the country and spurring the Japanese Church to protect all life. It was a bittersweet farewell that Pope Francis bade to the people of Japan on Tuesday, as he boarded the papal plane at Tokyo-Haneda airport. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-11/pope-francis-departs-japan-journey-overview.html

THERE’S ALSO THIS….
The Holy Father has named Msgr. Robert J. McClory of the clergy of the archdiocese of Detroit and rector of the National Shrine of the Little Flower Basilica in Royal Oak, Michigan as bishop of Gary in Indiana. His Vatican bio notes that in addition to his native English, he speaks, Italian, Spanish and knows sign language.

A longer biography can be read here: https://www.shrinechurch.com/monsignor-robert-j-mcclory-bio/

In part: Monsignor Robert J. McClory is the Pastor and Rector of the National Shrine of the Little Flower Basilica in Royal Oak, Michigan. He was appointed by Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron on July 1, 2017. As a newly ordained priest he offered his first Mass at Shrine on May 23, 1999.

He currently serves on the Archdiocese of Detroit Episcopal Council, College of Consultors, Priest Assignment Board, and New Evangelization Council. He is a leadership consultant with the Catholic Leadership Institute, offering leadership training to priests, deacons, seminarians, parish and diocesan leaders. He serves as the spiritual advisor to Detroit Team Eight for Teams of Our Lady, a marriage enrichment apostolate.

He has earned degrees at Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University and completed his license in canon law at the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas in Rome. He is a Knight of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem and a third degree Knight of Columbus.

ROMAN CURIA NEWS: In the event you want to occasionally follow news from a few of the congregations, councils, dicasteries and other offices in the Roman Curia, here are some interesting links:

http://www.cultura.va/content/dam/cultura/docs/pdf/coms/newsletter27.pdf

http://www.laityfamilylife.va/content/laityfamilylife/en.html

This was the highlight piece of news from Laity, Family and Life: On the Feast of Christ the King, the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life is happy to announce the establishment of an International Youth Advisory Body made up of 20 young people from different regions of the world and some international movements, associations and communities. A specific request was made in the Final Document of the 2018 Synod for the creation of an entity like this in order to reinforce the work being done by the Youth Office of the Dicastery (cf. no. 123).

POPE FRANCIS IN JAPAN – AMERICAN BISHOPS CONTINUE AD LIMINA VISITS TO ROME

POPE FRANCIS IN JAPAN

The Holy Father has had an amazing trip to Asia, first in Thailand as you saw from the colorful photos and videos and media reports, and now in Japan where he arrived late afternoon on Saturday, November 23. He is due back in Rome tomorrow, November 26, when he will surely visit Santa Maria Maggiore (St. Mary Major) and the image he so loves and that is so dear to Romans, Salus Populi Romani (Protectress or salvation of the Roman people).

Pope Francis’ final day in Japan is tomorrow, November 26. His schedule includes Mass with Jesuits in the chapel of Sophia University, followed by breakfast and a private meeting with the Collegium Maximum and a visit of the university. After a ceremony at Tokyo-Haneda airport, the papal plane departs for Rome at 11:35 local time, arriving back in Rome at 5:15 pm Rome time. There is an 8-hour time difference between Tokyo and Rome. The flight to Rome is estimated to take over 12 and a half hours.

Following are links to Vatican news reports of the various stops, visits and events of Pope Francis in Japan (Several have videos). The last Pope to visit Japan was Pope St. John Paul in 1981. The photo slideshow is from vaticannews.va

NOVEMBER 23

Pope to Japanese bishops: witness to the Gospel and protect life
In his first meeting in Japan, Pope Francis encourages Japan’s tiny Catholic community to witness daily to the Lord by protecting life and proclaiming the Gospel of compassion and mercy. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-11/pope-francis-apostolic-visit-japan-bishops-message.html

NOVEMBER 24
Pope in Nagasaki urges commitment to a world free of nuclear weapons – News Video
Visiting the Peace Memorial in Nagasaki on Sunday morning, Pope Francis confirms that peace and security cannot be guaranteed through false security based on fear and mutual mistrust. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-11/news-video-pope-nagasaki-urges-nuclear-free-world.html

The Pope’s day in Nagasaki and Hiroshima
A sixty-second video sums up Pope Francis’ poignant day in two Japanese cities that symbolise the tragedy of nuclear warfare: Nagasaki and Hiroshima. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-11/pope-apostolic-visit-japan-nagasaki-hiroshima-video.html

Pope in Hiroshima: Use and possession of atomic energy for war is immoral
On his first full day in Japan, Pope Francis visits the Hiroshima Peace Memorial and describes it as a place where death and life, loss and rebirth, suffering and compassion have met. He reaffirms that the use and possesson of atomic energy for purposes of war is immoral. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-11/pope-in-hiroshima-use-and-possession-of-atomic-energy-for-war-i.html

NOVEMBER 25
Pope to victims of Japan’s “triple disaster”: We are part of one another
Pope Francis meets with victims of the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear accident that struck the Japanese city of Fukushima in 2011. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-11/pope-to-victims-of-triple-disaster-we-are-part-of-one-another.html

Pope Francis meets victims of Japan’s “triple disaster” – News Video
On his third day in Japan, Pope Francis meets the victims of the earthquake, tsunami and Fukushima nuclear accident of 2011. He reminds us we are all members of one family, and that if one member suffers, we all do. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-11/pope-francis-meets-victims-of-japan-s-triple-disaster.html

Pope Francis meets with Japan’s Emperor Naruhito
Pope Francis meets with the Emperor of Japan, Naruhito, at the Tokyo Imperial Palace on Monday. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-11/pope-francis-private-meeting-japan-emperor.html

Pope to young people in Tokyo: ‘Japan needs you, the world needs you!’
One rendezvous Pope Francis never misses during an Apostolic Visit abroad is meeting with young people, “the builders of tomorrow’s society”. That meeting took place on the penultimate day of his visit to Japan, when he took time to meet with the youth in Tokyo. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-11/pope-francis-tokyo-japan-meeting-young-people.html

Pope at Mass in Tokyo: Gospel of life urges us to be a “field hospital”
Pope Francis celebrates Mass on Monday afternoon at the Tokyo Dome stadium. In his homily, the Pope says we need to get our priorities right, in line with the life of Jesus. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-11/pope-francis-apostolic-journey-japan-mass-tokyo0.html

Pope to authorities: your heritage is precious, your morals high
Pope Francis addresses members of civil society and the diplomatic corps, in Japan, and urges them to cherish their precious cultural heritage, maintaining solidarity with all members of our human family. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-11/pope-francis-address-authorities-civil-society-japan.html

Pope receives Scholas Occurrentes on its launch in Japan
On the penultimate day of his November 19-26 Apostolic Journey in Thailand and Japan, Pope Francis met representatives of the Scholas Occurrentes at the Apostolic Nunciature in Japan. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-11/pope-francis-apsotolic-journey-japan-sholas-occurrentes-inaugura.html

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AMERICAN BISHOPS CONTINUE AD LIMINA VISITS TO ROME

American bishops from New Jersey and Pennsylvania are in Rome for their ad limina visit. The last time that U.S. prelates were in Rome for an ad limina (they are normally held every five years, the mandatory quinquennial ad limina apostolorum (to the threshold of the Apostles) was in 2011 with Pope Benedict.

New Jersey has 5 Latin rite dioceses and 2 Eastern rite dioceses, Pennsylvania has 8 Latin rite dioceses and 2 Eastern rite. Only Latin Rite bishops are in Rome for this 2019-2020 series of ad limina visits that end in January. New Jersey and Pennsylvania have a total of 32 bishops, including auxiliaries and emeritus bishops.

The bishops will be visiting various congregations, pontifical councils, dicasteries and other Roman Curial offices during the week and will have an audience with Pope Francis on Friday. They are scheduled to be at the Thanksgiving Day festivities on November 28 at the North American College that include a late afternoon Mass to be celebrated by Bishop James Chechhio of Metuchen, New Jersey, former rector of NAC. An abundant turkey dinner for invited guests will follow Mass.

VATICAN INSIDER: VICE POSTULATOR SPEAKS ABOUT ARCHBISHOP SHEEN – THE HOLY FATHER IN THAILAND

VATICAN INSIDER: VICE POSTULATOR SPEAKS ABOUT ARCHBISHOP SHEEN

You must all know by now that the Vatican has approved a miracle through the intercession of Venerable Servant of God Archbishop Fulton Sheen and that on Monday, November 18, the diocese of Peoria in Illinois where he is buried announced that Sheen will be beatified in Peoria on December 21st. Given that great news, this weekend and next in the interview segment of Vatican Insider, we are re-airing a conversation I had with Msgr. Richard Soseman, a pastor in the diocese of Peoria and also the vice postulator of the cause for sainthood of Archbishop Sheen.

We talk about Msgr. Soseman’s priestly life, his time studying in Rome and then working at Congregation for clergy, how his life and priesthood was impacted by Sheen, how he was assigned to the cause for sainthood, the role of a vice postulator and the miracle that led to Sheen’s beatification. A second miracle, by the way, is needed for canonization. So stay tuned after the news highlights and a Q&A for Part I of that conversation.

IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at http://www.ewtn.com) or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio, or on http://www.ewtn.com. OUTSIDE THE U.S., you can listen to EWTN radio on our website home page by clicking on the right side where you see “LISTEN TO EWTN.” VI airs at 5am and 9pm ET on Saturdays and 6am ET on Sundays. On the GB-IE feed (which is on SKY in the UK and Ireland), VI airs at 5:30am, 12 noon and 10pm CET on Sundays. Both of these feeds are also available on the EWTN app and on http://www.ewtnradio.net ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: https://www.ewtn.com/radio/audio-archive (write Vatican Insider where it says Search Shows and Episodes)

THE HOLY FATHER IN THAILAND

What it means to be a Christian
Pope Francis meets with priests, religious, consecrated men and women, seminarians and catechists in Bangkok, and shares guidelines on how to achieve apostolic fruitfulness, and on what it means to be a Christian. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-11/pope-in-thailand-what-it-means-to-be-a-christian.html

Pope to Bishops: Holy Spirit is the protagonist of mission
Pope Francis addresses the Bishops of Thailand and of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) at the Shrine of Blessed Nicholas Bunkerd Kitbamrung in Bangkok. The Pope began his discourse to the Bishops by placing their meeting under the “watchful gaze” of Blessed Nicholas Bunkerd, “so that his example may inspire us with a great zeal for evangelization in all the local Churches of Asia.” https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-11/pope-to-bishops-in-thailand-be-servants-not-managers.html

Encounter and mutual dialogue needed in a challenging world
Pope Francis meets Christian leaders and leaders of other religions at Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University, telling them co-operation and mutual respect are needed more than ever in a world filled with complex challenges. In 1897, Thailand’s King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) visited Rome and met Pope Leo XIII, the first time that a non-Christian Head of State was received in the Vatican. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-11/pope-encounter-mutual-dialogue-needed-in-a-challenging-world.html

Pope to youth in Thailand: rooted in faith through friendship with Jesus
Pope Francis celebrates Mass for young people Friday evening in Bangkok’s Cathedral. A strong faith based on a deep friendship with Jesus, he says, will see them through life’s difficulties, as their elders testify. Pope Francis is asking the young people of Thailand to be deeply rooted and anchored in their faith by cultivating a friendship with Jesus, saying it will provide them with the oil needed to light up the path of their life and those of others around them. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-11/pope-francis-apostolic-journey-thailand-mass-youth.html

POPE FRANCIS’ APOSTOLIC JOURNEY TO THAILAND

Update on papal trip to Thailand from Vaticannews.va:

POPE FRANCIS’ APOSTOLIC JOURNEY TO THAILAND

The King and the Pope
On his first full day in Bangkok, Pope Francis meets privately with King Maha Vajiralongkorn, the official protector of Buddhism in Thailand. One event of his 32nd Apostolic Visit abroad that took place far from the public eye was Pope Francis’ private meeting with the King of Thailand. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-11/pope-francis-thailand-king-vajiralongkorn.html

Pope hospital visit: Jesus close to us in our frailty and in our wounds
Pope Francis visits the patients and staff of the St. Louis Hospital in Bangkok, which this year is celebrating the 120th anniversary of its foundation. The St. Louis Hospital in Bangkok was founded in 1898 by the Apostolic Victor of Siam, Archbishop Louis Vey. Its mission is based on the motto “Where love is, there God is.” Today the hospital is run by a team of doctors, nurses and researchers with the help of state of the art medical equipment. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-11/pope-hospital-visit-jesus-close-to-us-in-our-frailty-and-in-our.html

Pope in Thailand: Catholics and Buddhists can live as “good neighbours”
On his first full day in Thailand, Pope Francis meets the Buddhist Supreme Patriarch and confirms the Church’s commitment to open and respectful dialogue in the service of peace. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-11/pope-in-thailand-catholics-and-buddhists-can-live-together.html

Pope in Thailand: the commitment to live in justice, solidarity and harmony
Pope Francis delivers his first official discourse in Thailand to members of government, civil and religious leaders, and the diplomatic corps. Among other things, he reminds them that being at the service of the common good is one of the noblest tasks anyone can undertake. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-11/pope-in-thailand-the-commitment-to-live-in-justice-solidarity.html

Pope urges Thailand’s Catholics to be missionary disciples
Pope Francis celebrates his first public Mass on Thai soil Thursday evening at Bangkok’s National Stadium. Reflecting on the Gospel of the memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, he speaks about what missionary discipleship consists in. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-11/pope-francis-apostolic-visit-thailand-mass-bangkok.html

Pope’s first Mass in Thailand – photo gallery
Celebrating his first public Mass at the National Stadium in the Thai capital, Bangkok, the Pope speaks about what missionary discipleship consists in. Pope Francis is in Thailand to celebrate the 350th anniversary of the establishment of the Apostolic Vicariate of Siam in 1669 that formally marked the beginning of the Church in the country. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-11/pope-francis-apostolic-visit-thailand-mass-bangkok-photogallery.html

DECKING-OUT PAPAL VENUES IN THAILAND (+ VIDEO) – POPE ON BOARD TO JOURNALISTS: MAKE KNOWN THESE CULTURES FAR FROM THE WEST – POPE ARRIVES IN THAILAND AT THE START OF 32ND APOSTOLIC JOURNEY

DECKING-OUT PAPAL VENUES IN THAILAND (+ VIDEO)

Let’s take a glimpse of some of the places Pope Francis will be visiting during his three-day visit to Thailand.

Pope Francis is on a seven-day apostolic journey to Asia. His first stopover is in Thailand, where Catholics number around 300,000. The Pope will focus on confirming the faith of this small Catholic community, promoting interreligious dialogue and paving the way for peace and understanding in a predominantly Buddhist country. In a video message sent to the people of Thailand, the Pope expressed his hope that his visit will “strengthen the bonds of friendship with many Buddhist brothers and sisters.”

Enjoy the video! https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-11/pope-francis-apostolic-visit-thailand.html

POPE ON BOARD TO JOURNALISTS: MAKE KNOWN THESE CULTURES FAR FROM THE WEST

On board the flight that took Pope Francis to Thailand, the first stop of his 32nd apostolic journey, he greeted journalists and thanked them for their work. Before leaving Rome, he met with some elderly people in the Casa Santa Marta.


Alessandro Di Bussolo – Vatican City

On the flight to Thailand, the first stage of his 32nd apostolic journey and the fourth to East Asia, the Pope greeted journalists on board saying, “Good evening, thank you for accompanying me on this journey, thank you for your work, it is so good for people to be informed, to know these cultures that are far from the West”.

“Make known these cultures far from the West”
At Fiumicino airport and before boarding the Alitalia plane, the Pope greeted civil and religious authorities. Then, as usual, with his briefcase in his left hand, he climbed the steps to reach the aircraft entrance door. From here, shortly before taking his seat, he briefly stopped to greet the 58 year-old Captain Alberto Colautti, who has 15,000 hours of flight time to his credit. He also greeted the three co-pilots and the six flight attendants who were waiting for him.

On Tuesday evening at 6 p.m, before leaving the Casa Santa Marta for Fiumicino airport, Pope Francis met with a dozen elderly people hosted by the Little Sisters of the Poor in San Pietro in Vincoli. The group was accompanied by the Papal Almoner, Cardinal Konrad Krajewski.

Click here for photos: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-11/pope-on-board-to-journalists-make-known-these-cultures-far-from.html

POPE ARRIVES IN THAILAND AT THE START OF 32ND APOSTOLIC JOURNEY

Pope Francis arrives at Bangkok Airport after an eleven-hour flight from Rome. Thailand is the first stop on a seven day Apostolic Journey to Asia taking him to Thailand and Japan.

The plane carrying the Pope, his entourage and around 70 journalists and media professionals, arrived in Bangkok just after noon, local time, on Wednesday.

This is Pope Francis’ 32nd Apostolic Journey, taking him to Thailand until 23 November and then Japan until 26 November. Confirming these nation’s small Catholic communities in the faith, promoting interreligious dialogue, defending life and the environment: these are just some of the themes underlining the visit.

Arrival ceremony in Bangkok
A representative of the Royal Council of Thailand, and another six authorities representing the Thai government, met the Pope on his arrival, together with members of the Thai Bishops’ Conference. There were also 11 children representing the dioceses of Thailand where Catholics number around 300,000.

The Pope’s motorcade then left immediately for the nunciature where Pope Francis is expected to rest before the first full day of the visit begins on Thursday.

The first papal appointments
The Pope’s first appointment on Thursday is at Government House where the official welcome ceremony will take place. Pope Francis will meet privately with Thai Prime Minister, General Prayuth Chan-ocha, before addressing authorities, members of civil society and the diplomatic corps. Immediately afterwards, he will visit the Supreme Buddhist Patriarch, Somdej Phra Maha Muneewong, at the Wat Ratchabophit Sathit Maha Simaram Temple.

Before lunch, Pope Francis will meet medical staff and a group of patients at the St. Louis Hospital in Bangkok. This important healthcare facility was founded by Catholics in 1898. In the afternoon, the Pope will pay a private visit to the King of Thailand, Maha Vajiralongkorn Rama X, at the Amphorn Royal Palace.

The Pope’s first full day of events will conclude with the celebration of a Mass with young people in the National Stadium of Bangkok.

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