Exactly 17 months after his election in Rome as leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics, Pope Francis is shifting gear and turning his attention to Asia.
This week, he begins the first of three - and perhaps four - long-distance trips to encourage his flock in the continent that presents the Catholic Church with its greatest missionary challenge in the 21st century.
Although only 3% of the world's Catholics live in the planet's most populous continent, more have been baptised in Asia this year than in Europe, according to Vatican statistics.
Pope Francis is spending five days in South Korea, where the number of Catholics has grown at a giddy rate over the past four decades.
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