Pope Francis intends to visit Japan in 2019

The Argentine pontiff has repeatedly voiced a desire to visit Japan, home to some 450,000 Roman Catholics.

Published: 12th September 2018 08:11 PM  |   Last Updated: 12th September 2018 08:11 PM   |  A+A-

Pope Francis. (Photo | AP)

By AFP

VATICAN CITY: Pope Francis announced on Wednesday he intends to visit Japan in 2019, becoming the first pontiff to do so since John Paul II nearly 40 years ago. 

"I would like to communicate my intention to visit Japan next year," the pope told a group of Japanese visitors at the Vatican. "I hope to be able to fulfil this wish."

The pope had received the delegates from the charitable Tensho Kenoho Shisetsu Kenshokai Association in audience, commemorating a visit in 1585 of four young Japanese men accompanied by Jesuit missionaries.

ALSO READ | Pope Francis calls senior bishops for 'child protection' meeting in February

The Argentine pontiff has repeatedly voiced a desire to visit Japan, home to some 450,000 Roman Catholics.

Another 510,000 Protestants live in the largely Shinto Buddhist country, according to Japan's Agency for Cultural Affairs.

Francis had wanted to work as a missionary there in his youth but abandoned the plan after a lung operation.

The pope noted that the 1585 journey to visit pope Gregory XIII was the first Japanese diplomatic mission to Europe and took more than eight years.

"Yours is shorter and less tiring," the pope joked. "But I hope you feel welcomed by the pope as they were."

The pope hailed the association's work to fund training for the young and orphans.

"You wish to show that religion, culture and the economy can work together peacefully to create a more humane world marked by an integral ecology."

The pope has made two trips to Asia since his election five years ago, visiting the Philippines and Sri Lanka in 2014, followed by Myanmar and Bangladesh last year.

Pope John Paul II visited Japan in 1981.

Stay up to date on all the latest World news with The New Indian Express App. Download now

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.