Pope visits Jesuit Japan community that could have been his

Pope visits Jesuit Japan community that could have been his
Pope Francis passes the Japanese flag as he attends a meeting with the diplomatic community at the prime minister's office Monday, Nov. 25, 2019. (Photo by Behrouz Mehri/Pool Photo via AP)

TOKYO (AP) — Pope Francis is wrapping up his visit to Japan in a very personal way, spending the morning with his Jesuit confreres in the community that would have been his own had his dream to be a missionary come true.

Francis celebrated Mass in the chapel of the Jesuit-run Sofia University on Tuesday and was visiting retired and sick priests before delivering a speech on Jesuit education in his final event of his weeklong Asia pilgrimage.

As a young Jesuit in Argentina, Francis had dreamed of following in the footsteps of St. Francis Xavier, who introduced Christianity to Japan in the 16th century.

He was prevented because of health reasons, but he joked with Japanese bishops that he got his “revenge” by sending five Argentine priests to Japan as missionaries.