Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service

Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service

TOKYO -- Describing himself as a "missionary pilgrim," Pope Francis finally fulfilled a more than five-decade-old desire to share the Gospel in Japan.

BANGKOK -- Meeting Thai religious leaders and then celebrating Mass with Catholic young adults, Pope Francis encouraged them to strengthen a culture that treasures the past, holds fast to faith, is unafraid of differences and always seeks a way to promote dialogue and cooperation.

THA KHAM, Thailand -- In a large, predominantly Catholic village outside Bangkok, tens of thousands of people lined the roads and filled the grounds of a church complex to greet Pope Francis.

BANGKOK -- Missionaries are not mercenaries, but beggars who recognize that some brothers and sisters are missing from the community and long to hear the good news of salvation, Pope Francis told the Catholics of Thailand.

BANGKOK -- Calling migration "one of the principal moral issues" facing humanity today, Pope Francis thanked the government and people of Thailand for the way they've welcomed migrants and refugees, but he urged greater efforts to protect migrants and poor Thais from human trafficking.

BANGKOK -- Arriving in Thailand after an 11-hour flight, Pope Francis was greeted by 11 children -- one for each of the country's dioceses.

VATICAN CITY -- A commitment to defending and protecting human life requires a commitment to ending wars and to promoting nuclear disarmament, Pope Francis said.

VATICAN CITY -- The poor are the church's treasure because they give every Christian a chance to "speak the same language as Jesus, that of love," Pope Francis said, celebrating Mass for the World Day of the Poor.

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis' translator in Thailand will be someone familiar with the nuances and colloquialisms of his Argentine Spanish because she grew up speaking it with him.

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis and Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury, spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion, said they would travel together to South Sudan if the country's leaders fulfill their promise to form a transitional government by late February.