Pope’s Asian agenda: Atomic bombs, martyrs, family reunion

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Vatican City, Nov. 18  (BNA) : Pope Francis has agendas both pastoral and personal for his trip to Asia, where he’ll appeal for global nuclear disarmament at the sites of the atomic bomb and minister to two tiny Catholic communities that have suffered gruesome periods of persecution.

Emphasizing the dignity of life is also on Francis’ to-do list for his trip to Thailand and Japan that begins Wednesday, given the scourge of human trafficking in Thailand and Japan’s use of capital punishment and high suicide rate, The Associated Press Agency (AP) reported.

As a young Jesuit, Francis dreamed of being a missionary in Japan, inspired by the courage of Japan’s Hidden Christians, who braved two centuries of persecution to keep their faith alive.

"In some way, this is the fulfilment of his dream," said the Rev. Bernardo Cervellera, editor of AsiaNews, a Vatican-affiliated news service.

According to the AP, in Thailand, Francis will also be reunited with his second cousin, Sister Ana Rose Sivori, an Argentine nun who has lived in Thailand since 1966 and will serve as Francis’ official translator there.