YANGON, Myanmar – Hundreds of thousands of people have come out for Pope Francis' first public Mass in Myanmar, a huge turnout for a country with a tiny Catholic minority.
Francis looped around Yangon's Kyaikkasan Ground park in his open-sided popemobile before Mass, waving to the crowds that continued to pour in as the service began Wednesday. Local government officials and senior members of Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party were on hand.
Francis has said his aim in coming to majority Buddhist Myanmar is to minister to its Catholic community, which numbers around 660,000 people, or just over 1 percent of the population of about 52 million.
His trip has been overshadowed, though, by Myanmar's military operations targeting the Rohingya Muslim minority in northern Rakhine state.