Accepting suggestions by Myanmar’s cardinal, Pope Francis has added two private meetings to the schedule for his visit to the country: one with religious leaders and the other with the commander of the military, who wields great political power in the country.
Greg Burke, director of the Vatican press office, said Pope Francis will meet with representatives of various religions present in Myanmar on Tuesday 28th November and with Gen. Min Aung Hlaing on Thursday 30th November. Burke also said the public Mass in Yangon on Wednesday 29th November will begin an hour earlier than originally scheduled because of the heat.
About 90 per cent of Myanmar’s population follows Theravada Buddhism, and Pope Francis already had a meeting scheduled with the Sangha supreme council, which oversees the Buddhist monks throughout the country. But Myanmar is also home to Muslims, Hindus and followers of other Buddhist traditions, as well as Baptists, who far outnumber Catholics in the country.
Representatives of the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees living in Bangladesh will meet Pope Francis on Friday 1st December in Dhaka during an interreligious and ecumenical meeting for peace, Burke said.
Picture: The Uppatasanti Pagoda in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, is seen on Sunday 19th November. Greg Burke, director of the Vatican press office, said Pope Francis will meet with representatives of various religions present in Myanmar and with Gen. Min Aung Hlaing while in Myanmar. (CNS photo/Lynn Bo Bo, EPA).