(Vatican Radio) Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, says Pope Francis' upcoming Apostolic Visit to Myanmar and Bangladesh is meant to encourage the small Catholic communities of those countries.
Pope Francis makes his visit to Myanmar on 27 - 30 November and to Bangladesh on 30 Nov - 2 December.
Cardinal Parolin gave a preview of the Pope's trip in an interview with Vatican media.
Listen to the full interview:
Cardinal Parolin said Pope Francis' trip will support the tiny Christian communities in Bangladesh and Myanmar.
"The Holy Father will meet with Christian communities, which are minorities in these two countries."
He said there are 400,000 Catholics in Bangladesh out of a population of 163 million, while in Myanmar there are 700,000 Catholics in a population of 53 million.
Cardinal Parolin said the Pope's visit is intended "to show interest and to show great attention to these communities, especially because they are small communities, and they need encouragement."
"They need closeness from the Pastor of the Universal Church," he said.
Speaking of the Pope's schedule, Cardinal Parolin said there are many meetings with bishops, clergy, religious men and women, lay people, and young people.
"The Holy Father will encourage these communities also to be an effective presence at the societal level, giving their contribution to the common good and being an element for the construction of peace, reconciliation, and solidarity among the population of the two countries."
(Devin Sean Watkins)