By Francesca Merlo
Pope Francis acknowledges that “in this world that too frequently experiences discord, division, and exclusion”, Thailand has shown commitment to work hard “to promote harmony and a peaceful coexistence”.
This commitment, he says, “can serve as an inspiration” for all the people around the world who are working to “promote a great, true development of our human family in solidarity, in justice and in living in peace”.
His words came in a video message to the people of Thailand. The country is preparing to welcome Pope Francis who travels there on his 32nd Apostolic Journey, before heading to Japan.
Pope Francis goes on to say that during his journey he will have the opportunity to meet and “encourage” the Catholic community of Thailand “in their faith and in the contribution they make to the whole of society”.
He also says that he is hoping to “strengthen the bonds of friendship that we share with many Buddhist brothers and sisters”. The vast majority of the population in Thailand is Buddhist – 93%.
“I trust that my visit will help to highlight the importance of inter-religious dialogue, mutual understanding, and fraternal cooperation”, says the Pope.
Especially, he continues in the service of those who are most in need, and “at the service for peace”. At this time, he adds, “we need to work so much for peace”.
Finally, Pope Francis thanks the people of Thailand “from the bottom of” his heart for all of the preparation that is going into his visit, and assures that that “in these days” praying for everyone in Thailand.