By Rock Rozario
Pope Francis has arrived in Bangladesh on the second leg of his Asian tour after departing Myanmar’s former capital Yangon on Nov. 30.
The pope arrived just after 3 p.m. local time and was greeted at Dhaka’s international airport by Bangladesh President Abdul Hamid, eight local bishops and political leaders.
A group of children also welcomed Pope Francis with flowers, song and dance.
After the welcoming ceremony, the pope visited the National Martyrs’ Memorial, at Savar, 35 kilometers northwest of Dhaka, where he placed a floral tribute in memory of the country’s liberation war of 1971 when the country separated from Pakistan.
He later traveled to the Bangabandhu Memorial Museum to pay homage to the late Sheik Mujibur Rahman, known as the “father of the nation” and who is also the father of the present Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
In his message to the President of Myanmar Htin Kyaw prior to his departure, Pope Francis expressed his appreciation for the welcome he received and thanked “the beloved people of Myanmar for their warm embrace.”
Before departing Pope Francis gave the Archbishop’s Residence in Yangon a sculpture representing Saint Francis talking to the birds: a symbol of brotherhood between mankind and creation.