Pope Francis to arrive in Bangladesh on Nov 30

Pope Francis will arrive in Bangladesh for a three-day visit at the end of November.

Staff Correspondentbdnews24.com
Published : 28 August 2017, 10:18 AM
Updated : 28 August 2017, 03:40 PM

The pope, the head of the Roman Catholic Church and the Vatican, will arrive in Dhaka on Nov 30, the foreign ministry said in a statement on Monday.  

The visit includes a meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who invited him to Dhaka, according to the statement.

Pope Francis, 81, will also meet President Md Abdul Hamid and give audience to the Christian community in Bangladesh.

The pope’s apostolic visit, which aims to investigate a special circumstance in a diocese or country, will continue until Dec 2.

“An advanced team recently visited Bangladesh to coordinate the preparation of the visit with the Protocol Wing of the Ministry,” the foreign ministry said.

Born in Argentina as Jorge Mario Bergoglio, he was elected the 266th pope in 2013. He then adopted the papal name Francis. 

He had appointed Patrick D'Rozario, the archbishop of Bangladesh, as the first ever cardinal from Bangladesh on Nov 19, 2016. 

Pope John Paul visited Bangladesh in 1986. Catholics make up a small minority community in the Muslim-majority South Asian nation.

Pope Francis will visit also Myanmar, after its de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi set up diplomatic ties with the Vatican during a visit in May this year, according to Reuters.

“He would visit Myanmar from Nov 27 to 30, stopping in Yangon and in the capital, Naypyitaw,” the report said. The focus of his visit to these two countries would be centred on the crisis surrounding the treatment of Rohingya Muslims, it added.

Pope Francis had strongly criticised the treatment of Myanmar’s Rohingya community, saying they were being tortured and murdered simply because of their culture and Muslim faith.

Archbishop D'Rozario, the head of the Catholic Church in Bangladesh, came to a press conference at Kakrail’s Archbishop Bhaban on Monday.

“Pope Francis will visit Bangladesh as the sovereign of the Vatican, and secondly, as the leader of the Catholic faith,” he said.

The pope’s visit to Bangladesh is the first in 30 years. After the deadly cyclone of 1970, Pope Paul XI came to the Bangladesh airport for an hour on Nov 26. The second visit by a pope was when Pope John Paul came to Bangladesh on a state visit in 1986.

“His holiness hopes to be inspired by the religious devotion and relations innately present in the people of Bangladesh, and would also expect to spark their expression,” said the archbishop.