Pope Francis departed from Rome to Thailand tonight. His 32nd trip abroad will then take him to Japan, according to France Press.The first Jesuit pope will visit two countries where Christianity was introduced by Jesuit missionaries in the mid-16th century.In Bangkok, he will be accompanied by his cousin, Ana Rosa Sivori, who has been a missionary in Thailand for over 50 years.She will also bebe the pope's personal translator in Thailand. Catholics are a tiny minority in mostly Buddhist Thailand, accounting for less than 2% of the population.Pope Francis has repeatedly expressed his admiration for Japan, where he wanted to become a missionary as a youth. However, he had to give up his plan after a lung operation.Prior to his departure, he sent a message to the Thai, who he said has "worked hard to promote harmony and peaceful coexistence, not only among its people but throughout the Southeast Asian region. In this world that too often experiences discord, division and exclusion, this commitment to forge a unity respectful of the dignity of every man, woman and child can serve as an inspiration for the efforts that people of goodwill around the world are making to promote a great, true development of our human family in solidarity, in justice and in living in peace.
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