BANGKOK — Pope Francis is set to make good on a six-year old promise to visit Thailand. His visit to Thailand is going ahead from Nov. 20 to 23, the Apolistic Nuncio of the Holy See announced Friday afternoon.
In two months’ time, Pope Francis will visit Thailand, Catholic officials announced Friday afternoon at the 11th floor conference room of the St. Louis Hospital in central Bangkok, part of a simultaneous international announcement in both the Vatican City and Tokyo.
Archbishop and Apolistic Nuncio Paul Tschang In-Nam announced the visit in English at 2pm sharp, while Cardinal Francis Xavier Kriengsak Kovitvanit did so in Thai.
“It is my great honor and pleasure to make the following announcement. At the invitation of the Royal Thai Government and the Bishops of Thailand, His Holiness Pope Francis will make the Apolistic Visit to Thailand on November 20 to 23, 2019,” they said.
The official announcement came after months of anticipation.
“Before, I had to just smile when people asked me,” Chainarong Monthienvichienchai, a spokesman for the Holy See, said.
A press release said that the Pope will preside over two public masses during his visit, one for Thai Catholics and another for Thai Catholic youth. His specific schedule will be announced at a later time.
The masses may be held at the National Stadium, depending on crowd size and traffic conditions, according to Monsignor Vissanu Thanya-anan, deputy secretary-general of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Thailand.
“We want to reach Gen X, Gen Y, and other young people,” Vissanu said. “That’s why we’ll have a dedicated mass for youth.”
Also gathered were various nuns and priests from around Thailand.
“There are very few Catholics in Thailand, only about 300,000, but he still sees us as important. I’m so excited, and I’ll be waiting for him,” Sister Bangon Mathurotsuwan, 51, from the Congregation of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Bangkok, said.