International News

Pope to greet Rohingya refugees at Bangladesh peace prayer

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — Pope Francis is ordaining 16 priests during a Mass in Bangladesh, the start of a busy day that will also bring him face-to-face with Rohingya Muslims refugees from Myanmar.

An estimated 100,000 people gathered Friday in a Dhaka park for the service, which mirrors the ordination Mass St. John Paul II celebrated when he visited Bangladesh in 1986.

Later Friday, Francis hosts an interfaith peace prayer alongside Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist leaders. The Vatican says 18 Rohingya refugees from camps in Cox’s Bazar will be on hand to greet the pope.

Upon his arrival in Dhaka on Thursday, Francis demanded the international community intervene to resolve the Rohingya crisis, which has seen more than 620,000 refugees flee Myanmar in what the U.N. says is a textbook case of “ethnic cleansing.”

Pope Francis, center, visits the National Martyrs’ Memorial of Bangladesh in Savar, outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh, Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017. Pope Francis arrived in Bangladesh Thursday for the second leg of his six-day trip to Asia. (AP Photo/A. M. Ahad)