Aug 12, 2014 / 04:02 am
The rich history of martyrdom in South Korea and the thousands of young people slated to gather this week for Pope Francis shows the beauty and power of the faith, says a local bishop.
Bishop Lazzaro You Heung-sik of Daejeon will host Pope Francis in his diocese Aug. 15, when the pontiff takes part in the Sixth Asian Youth Day by celebrating Mass in the World Cup Stadium.
The bishop told CNA that around six thousand young people are anticipated to join Pope Francis for the event, and “will come from 22 different countries, and among those Japan, Cambodia, Thailand, Burma, Indonesia.”
“Asian Youth Day is so important,” he said in an Aug. 11 interview. “This meeting shows the future of the Church.”
Announced by the Vatican in March, the Pope’s Aug. 13-18 trip follows an invitation from the president of the Korean Republic, Park Geun-hye, and the bishops of Korea.
“Korean people, both believers and non believers, are praying that Francis may bring the Lord’s peace in the whole land of Korea,” Bishop You said.
Despite the “diplomatic tension between” North and South Korea, the news of Pope Francis’ visit has “already opened our administration’s heart, who had invited young North Korean people to take part” in the youth event.
North Korean authorities have declined the South Korean invitation to take part at least at the concluding Mass the Pope is scheduled to celebrate Aug. 18 at Myeongdong Cathedral, seat of the Archdiocese of Seoul – but there is no news about North Korean young people taking part to the Asian Youth Day.
“We are still waiting for their response, and we will look forward to it until the very end, with our heart open,” Bishop You said. …
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