Pope Francis flew back to Rome from Dhaka airport Saturday afternoon, concluding his 21st foreign visit outside of Italy that took him to Myanmar and Bangladesh.
The Pope was given an official farewell at Dhaka airport, where the Minister for Foreign Affairs was present to see him take off on a Bangladesh Airlines aircraft on his flight back to Rome.
The Pope was in Myanmar, Nov. 27-30, after which he visited neighbouring Bangladesh, Nov. 30-Dec 2. While Myanmar’s over 51 million population is nearly 90 percent Buddhist, where Catholics form only 1.2%, in neighbouring Bangladesh Muslims account for nearly 90% of the population, and Catholics less than 1 percent.
The purpose of this 2-nation apostolic visit was not only to confirm the faith of the tiny Catholic communities in the two Asian nations but also to carry Christ’s message of reconciliation, forgiveness, peace and harmony among the people for the common good. And that is what the logos and themes of the two visits indicated. The theme of the Pope’s Myanmar visit was “Love and Peace”, and that the Bangladesh, “Harmony and Peace.” The Pope also encouraged ecumenical and interfaith cooperation in order to be a prophetic and healing presence in the life of the nation.
In both the nations, the Catholic communities are active, especially in their outreach programmes for the poor and needy, which the Pope commended and encouraged. Overall the Pope delivered 8 discourses and three homilies, celebrating two Masses in Myanmar and another Mass in Bangladesh with priestly ordination.
Source: Vatican Radio