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Myanmar Catholics prepare for Pope Francis visit

Myanmar Catholics prepare for Pope Francis visit
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By Euronews
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Pope Francis is due to visit Myanmar amid international concerns over the plight of Rohingya Muslim refugees

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Churches in Myanmar's capital, Yangon, are preparing for the arrival of Pope Francis who is due to arrive there on Monday 27th November.

Dozens of Catholic devotees have been camped out at Churches like Saint Anthony's in Yangon with many people having taken a 48-hour train journey from Kachin State.

One of them, U Khun Aung, talked of his hopes.

"I think the Pope could lead us to peace or give us advice about the religious tensions."

But his visit comes at a difficult time with controversy over Rohingya refugees.

Padre Bernardo Cervellera, a Vatican expert, explained why.  

"Pope Francis is trying to support the reconciliation process in Myanmar and, consequently, to limit the military's power," he said.

"Not because he has this power, but because by strengthening Aung San Suu Kyi and by giving this message during his visit he can help the international community to take a more active role in Myanmar's future."

Last week Myanmar's de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, met with European Commission Vice-President, Federica Mogherini, to discuss the worsening crisis affecting the Rohingya.

At least 620,000 Rohingya, have fled from Myanmar's Rakhine state to Bangladesh since August. It follows worsening violence there that the UN has described as ethnic cleansing.

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