A file image of Cardinal Charles Bo of Yangoon when he was being made cardinal by Pope Francis during a consistory, on Feb. 14, 2015 at St. Peter's basilica, the Vatican. (Photo by Andreas Solaro/AFP)
Cardinal Charles Bo of Yangon has asked Myanmar's Catholics to be spiritually prepared to help ensure the success of the first papal visit to their country. In a statement released by the Yangon Archdiocese Sept. 6, Cardinal Bo guided the country's 700,000 Catholics on how they could spiritually prepare for Pope Francis' Nov. 27–30 visit. "Say special prayers for the pope's visit every day, make the intention while saying the rosary daily, pray at Mass," Cardinal Bo said. The pope first arrives in the business capital Yangon on Nov. 27 where he will partake in several meetings. He will then travel to the capital Naypyidaw to meet President Htin Kyaw and State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi on Nov. 28. At least 300,000 Catholics and other faiths across Myanmar and neighboring countries are expected to join Pope Francis for an open-air Mass back in Yangon on Nov. 29. The next day, the pope will pray with young people at St. Mary's Cathedral in Yangon. Later that day he will travel to neighboring Bangladesh. The papal visit comes after Myanmar and the Vatican established full diplomatic relations on May 4, shortly after Pope Francis met privately with Suu Kyi at the Vatican. Catholics are a minority in the Buddhist majority country of 51 million people. Myanmar's Catholics are served by 16 bishops, more than 700 priests and 2,200 religious.
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