Aug 14, 2014 / 03:35 am
On the first day of his historic papal visit to South Korea, Pope Francis urged local bishops to not only remember their rich history of martyrdom but look to the future with hope and missionary zeal.
“As pastors, you are responsible for guarding the Lord’s flock. You are guardians of the wondrous works which he accomplishes in his people,” the Pope said in his Aug. 14 address to the country’s Catholic Church leaders.
“Guarding is one of the tasks specifically entrusted to the bishop: looking after God’s people,” he noted in his prepared remarks, adding that Korea’s bishops are charged in particular with being “guardians of memory and guardians of hope.”
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.
During his time, the Pope will travel from the capital city of Seoul to Daejon, where he will celebrate the Sixth Asian Youth Day with thousands of young people expected to attend. He will also visit the rehabilitation center for disabled persons in Kkottongnae, as well as a shrine in Haemi for a closing Mass with Asian youth.
Speaking to the Korean bishops’ conference on Thursday, the Pope encouraged them to live their guardianship of memory by recognizing how the “seeds sown by the martyrs” have “brought forth an abundant harvest of grace in this land.”
“You are the children of the martyrs, heirs to their heroic witness of faith in Christ,” he emphasized. “You are also heirs to an impressive tradition which began, and largely grew, through the fidelity, perseverance and work of generations of lay persons.”
In this vein, the “great legacy handed down from your forefathers” can be seen today in active parishes and ecclesial movements, effective catechesis and outreach to youth, as well as Catholic schools and seminaries, he said.
The Pope strayed from his prepared comments on several occasions, stressing that bishops should not be distant from priests, but should be available and attentive to their needs. He also warned them to beware of the temptations that accompany prosperity. …
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