Pope Francis is visiting Thailand to support the country’s small Roman Catholic community. His three-day stay will be followed by a similar visit to Japan.
The pope plans to discuss human trafficking, peacemaking and other subjects.
Francis is expected to express love and respect for Thailand’s Catholics. Their ancestors brought the religion to the widely Buddhist nation.
The pope was greeted when he arrived Wednesday morning by Thai official Surayud Chulanont. Surayud heads King Maha Vajiralongkorn’s Privy Council and is a former prime minister.
The pope also visited with a small group of children in traditional Thai clothing. And he received a military welcome.
While he is in the area, Francis plans to meet with Thai officials, all the Catholic bishops of Asia and the leader of Buddhism in Thailand.
Francis has made the fight against human trafficking a major aim of his leadership. He is expected to raise this issue in Thailand, which is a key place along the path of human trafficking, forced labor and the sex trade.
Francis is marking the 350th anniversary of the creation of official Catholic offices in Thailand, known then as Siam.
He is to lead a religious service at the National Stadium. Tens of thousands of Thai Catholics are expected to attend.
I’m Kelly Jean Kelly.
Caty Weaver adapted this report for Learning English from VOA News Reports. Kelly Jean Kelly was the editor.
Words in This Story
greet – v. to meet (someone who has just arrived) with usually friendly and polite words and actions