The Royal Thai Government welcomes Pope Francis

Nov. 21, 2019 beginning at 9 am, His Holiness Pope Francis, the sovereign of the Vatican City State and the Supreme Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church, paid a visit to the Government House for an official welcoming ceremony with Prime Minister General Prayuth Chan-o-cha and his ministers who received him before His Holiness gave an address to civil society and diplomatic corps.

         His Holiness Pope Francis began his mission in Thailand by visiting the Government House for the official welcoming ceremony as the honor guest of the Royal Thai Government at Thai Ku Fah Building. Prime Minister General Prayuth Chan-o-cha received His Holiness Pope Francis before inviting him to receive the salute from the Guard of Honor from the viewing platform. The Guard of Honor comprised of the Thai Royal Army, Thai Royal Navy, and Thai Royal Air Force. The marching band played the national anthems of both the Vatican City State and Thailand.

         Pope Francis then greeted guests with Director-General of the Department of Diplomatic Affairs and was further introduced to the Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Secretary General of the Prime Minister, Commander-in-chief, Army Commander, and National Police commander. The Head of Diplomatic corps of the Vatican City State also introduced His Holiness Pope Francis to the Prime Minister. Then, the Prime Minister invited His Holiness inside Thai Ku Fah Building.

         Inside Thai Ku Fah Building, His Holiness Pope Francis and the Prime Minister took an official image before heading to the “Inner Ivory Room” to meet with the Associate Professor Napaporn Chan-o-cha, wife of the Prime Minister. And then, His Holiness signed a visiting book and viewed the souvenirs given by the Royal Thai Government. On this occasion, His Holiness Pope Francis also gave a souvenir to the Prime Minister as well. Then, they entered the “Inner Ivory Room” to have a private discussion before they headed to “Santi Maitri” Building.

         At Santi Maitri Building, ministers, army commanders, diplomatic corps, civil society, representatives of various religions, and guests of honor awaited to receive Pope Francis. When His Holiness arrived, the Prime Minister gave a speech about how joyful it is for him that Pope Francis has visited Thailand. Pope Francis then gave an address to those present.

         35 years ago, on May 11, 1984, His Holiness Pope St. John Paul II paid a visit to the Royal Thai Government where General Prem Tinlanonda, who was the Prime Minister at that time, officially welcomed him to the Kingdom of Thailand.

         After finishing his address, His Holiness had conversations with those who were present before leaving for Wat Ratchabophit Sathit Maha Simaram Temple.