Wednesday, November 27, 2019
The Apostolic Journey to Thailand and Japan
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
Yesterday I returned from the apostolic journey to Thailand and Japan, a gift of which I am so grateful to the Lord. I wish to renew my gratitude to the Authorities and Bishops of these two countries, who invited me and welcomed me with great concern, and above all to thank the Thai people and the Japanese people. This visit has increased my closeness and affection for these peoples: God bless them with abundance of prosperity and peace.
Thailand is an ancient kingdom that has greatly modernized. Meeting the King, the Prime Minister and the other Authorities, I paid tribute to the rich spiritual and cultural tradition of the Thai people, the people of the "beautiful smile". The people there smile. I have encouraged the commitment to harmony between the different components of the nation, as well as for economic development to benefit everyone and to eliminate the scourges of exploitation, especially of women and minors. The Buddhist religion is an integral part of the history and life of this people, so I visited the Supreme Patriarch of the Buddhists, continuing on the path of mutual esteem initiated by my Predecessors, so that compassion and fraternity grow in the world. In this sense, the ecumenical and interreligious meeting, which took place in the largest university in the country, was very significant.
The witness of the Church in Thailand also passes through works of service to the sick and the last. Among these excels the Saint Louis Hospital, which I visited encouraging health personnel and meeting some patients. I then dedicated specific moments to priests and consecrated persons, to bishops, and also to Jesuit confreres. In Bangkok I celebrated Mass with all the people of God in the National Stadium and then with the youth in the Cathedral. There we experienced that in the new family formed by Jesus Christ there are also the faces and voices of the Thai people.
Then, I went to Japan. Upon my arrival at the Tokyo Nunciature, I was welcomed by the Bishops of the country, with whom we immediately shared the challenge of being pastors of a very small Church, but bearer of living water, the Gospel of Jesus.
"Protecting every life" was the motto of my visit to Japan, a country that bears the scars of atomic bombing and is the spokesman of the fundamental right to life and peace for the whole world. In Nagasaki and Hiroshima I stayed in prayer, I met some survivors and family members of the victims, and I reiterated the firm condemnation of nuclear weapons and the hypocrisy of talking about peace by building and selling war bombs. After that tragedy, Japan demonstrated an extraordinary ability to fight for life; and it has done so recently, after the triple disaster of 2011: earthquake, tsunami and accident at the nuclear power plant.
To protect life one must love it, and today the grave threat, in the most developed countries, is the loss of the sense of living.
The first victims of the sense of life vacuum are young people, so a meeting in Tokyo was dedicated to them. I listened to their questions and their dreams; I encouraged them to oppose together with all forms of bullying, and to overcome fear and closure by opening themselves to the love of God, in prayer and in service to others. I met other young people at the "Sophia" University, together with the academic community. This University, like all Catholic schools, is very popular in Japan.
In Tokyo I had the opportunity to visit the Emperor Naruhito, to whom I renew the expression of my gratitude; and I met the country's Authorities with the Diplomatic Corps. I hoped for a culture of encounter and dialogue, characterized by wisdom and breadth of horizon. Remaining faithful to its religious and moral values, and open to the Gospel message, Japan could be a leading country for a more just and peaceful world and for harmony between man and the environment.
Dear brothers and sisters, let us entrust to the goodness and providence of God the peoples of Thailand and Japan. Thanks.
Greetings in Various Languages:
Je salue cordialement les pèlerins venus de France et d’autres pays francophones, en particulier le groupe d’études sur les relations avec le Saint-Siège de l’Assemblée Nationale française. Chers frères et sœurs, je vous invite à confier avec moi à la bonté et à la providence de Dieu les peuples de la Thaïlande et du Japon. Que Dieu vous bénisse.
I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, especially the groups from England, Australia, Canada and the United States of America. Upon all of you, and your families, I invoke the joy and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ. May God bless you!
Einen herzlichen Gruß richte ich an die Pilger deutscher Sprache, die an dieser Audienz teilnehmen. Ich danke dem Herrn für meine Reise nach Thailand und Japan. Seiner Vorsehung wollen wir die Gläubigen und alle Menschen in diesen beiden Ländern anvertrauen. Und ich bitte euch, auch für mich und meinen Dienst für die universale Kirche zu beten. Schönen Aufenthalt in Rom!
Saludo cordialmente a los peregrinos de lengua española, venidos de España y de Latinoamérica. A todos los invito a rezar por los dos países que he visitado, Tailandia y Japón, para que sigan progresando en sendas de paz y justicia, y a los católicos les conceda el don de la perseverancia, siguiendo el ejemplo de los santos mártires. Que Dios los bendiga.
Saúdo cordialmente os peregrinos de língua portuguesa, em particular o grupo de alunos da Academia da Polícia Civil, do Estado de São Paulo, e os fiéis da paróquia Sagrado Coração de Jesus, em Petrópolis. Que o Senhor vos abençoe, para serdes em toda a parte farol de luz do Evangelho para todos. Possa esta peregrinação fortalecer, nos vossos corações, o sentir e o viver com a Igreja. Nossa Senhora vos acompanhe e proteja a vós todos e aos vossos entes queridos.
[I cordially greet the Portuguese-speaking pilgrims, in particular the group of students from the Academy of Civil Police, the State of Sao Paulo, and the faithful of the Sacred Heart of Jesus parish, in Petrópolis. May the Lord bless you, so that wherever you are a beacon of light to the Gospel for all. May this pilgrimage invigorate your hearts and feelings with the Church. May Our Lady accompany you and protect you all and your loved ones!]
أرحبُ بالحاضرينَ الناطقين باللغة العربية، وخاصةً بالقادمين من العراق، ومن سوريا، ومن الأردن ومن الشرق الأوسط. يعلّمُنا متى أن يسوعَ المسيح سيبقى معنا طَوالَ الأَيَّامِ إِلى نِهايةِ العالَم. أدعوكُم أن تنطَلِقوا دونَ خوفٍ وأن تَحمِلوا المسيحَ إلى كلِّ الشعوب. إن الربَّ يبحثُ عن الجميع، ويُريدُ أن يَشعُرَ الجميع بدفءِ رحمتِهِ ومحبّتِهِ. ليُبارِكْكُم الربّ جميعًا ويَحرُسْكُم دائمًا من الشرير!
[I warmly welcome the Arabic-speaking pilgrims, in particular those from Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and the Middle East. Matthew teaches us that Jesus Christ will always remain with us every day, until the end of the world. I ask you to always go ahead without fear and to bring Christ to all peoples. The Lord seeks everyone, wants everyone to feel the warmth of his mercy and his love. May the Lord bless you and always protect you from the evil one!]
Serdecznie pozdrawiam polskich pielgrzymów. Drodzy bracia i siostry, dziękuję wam, że towarzyszyliście mi w modlitwie podczas podróży do Tajlandii i w Japonii. Ta wizyta przebiegała w atmosferze braterstwa budowanego na wartościach ludzkich i duchowych wspólnych dla tych, którzy głęboko żyją swoją wiarą, z szacunkiem dla innych. Dziękujmy Panu za ten czas łaski! Z serca wam błogosławię.
[I cordially greet the Polish pilgrims. Dear brothers and sisters, I thank you for having accompanied me in prayer during the journey to Thailand and Japan. This visit took place in an atmosphere of brotherhood, based on common human and spiritual values, for those who deeply live their faith with respect for others. We thank the Lord for this time of grace! I bless you from my heart.]
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I would like to send a greeting and my closeness to the dear Albanian people, who have suffered so much these days. Albania was the first country of Europe I wanted to visit. I am close to the victims, I pray for the dead, for the wounded, for families. May the Lord bless this people I love so much.
Last Saturday, in Tambaύ (Brazil), the priest Donizetti Tavares de Lima was proclaimed Blessed, a pastor totally dedicated to his people, witness of evangelical charity and courageous defender of the poor. The priests, the consecrated persons, but also the lay faithful can make their own the testimony of Blessed Donizetti's faith, with the consistency of life choices, inspired by the Gospel. A round of applause for the new Blessed!
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I warmly welcome the Italian-speaking pilgrims. In particular, I greet the participants in the Assembly of the Apostolic Union of the Clergy, with S.E. Monsignor Mansi; the Somaschi Fathers; and parish groups. I also greet the National Association of San Paolo; the Institute for Inspectors of the State Police of Nettuno; the personnel of the Bari Police Headquarters; the National Contact Association; and the Autonomous Small Business Federation. Finally, I greet the young, the elderly, the sick and newlyweds. Next Sunday the liturgical season of Advent will begin. I will go to Greccio to pray in the place of the first crib that St. Francis of Assisi did and to send a letter to all the believing people to understand the meaning of the crib. I wish all of you that during the Advent the expectation of the Savior will fill your heart with hope and find you joyful in the service of those most in need. Thanks.