quinta-feira, 14 de agosto de 2014

Pope visit South Korea with message of peace for all Asia

This is the third visit of Pope Francisco outside of Italy, after Brazil and the Holy land. The official reason of the terms of the Pope's youth journeys, but the visit is also marked by the memory of the martyrs, the growth of the Church and the reconciliation of the two Koreas.

About 10% of South Koreans are Catholic. But, although the minority community has a remarkable dynamism and increased 30% in 10 years. In one parish, comes to be "40 baptisms" per month.

The Pope's programme includes a mass for peace and reconciliation in Korea. Highlight is the encounter with young Asians and the beatification of 124 martyrs, almost all laymen, considered models of Christianity for the entire Korea.

The Korean Church's having a party. This is the third time that welcomes the visit of a Pope. After two visits of João Paulo II, in 1984 and 1989, Korea is the main door through which, now, Francisco enters in Asia.

Choo Hye-Ok, Catholic, explains why so much faith: "As our country has gone through many hardships, hope the Pope's visit will help us solve the problems, with the grace of God, especially the conflicts in the North and South Korea".

The municipality of Seoul estimates that about a million people will attend the mass for peace and reconciliation, the day 18, in the center of the city. The Pope is expected not only by Catholics, but by the whole society, said the President of the Korean Episcopal Conference, as it leads a reconciliation message addressed to the two Koreas, as well as the whole Asia and, in particular, to Japan and China.

But there's an open wound, yet to mitigate: the issue of the so-called "Korean military comfort women" by the Japanese, during World War II.

Yoon Mee-Hyang, Director of the Center for Women Enslaved by Japan, says: "the meeting with the Pope will be a comfort for them and help them to recover. It is also the means of pressure for the Japanese Government and to the international community to leverage senido a solution to the problem of these women ".

The theme of the Youth Conference is: "Asian Youth awakens. The glory of the martyrs shines upon you! ". Many expect an action as in Bethlehem, but nothing is planned.

In addition to the authorities of the country, the Pope Francisco will have a meeting with the Korean bishops and another with the Bishops of the Asian continent and will also meet with Catholic religious communities, with leaders of the Catholic laity, with religious leaders of the country.

"On the day of my departure, I invite you to join me in prayer for Korea and throughout Asia," wrote the Pope, on the social network Twitter. The Pope Francisco will return to Asia in January 2015, to visit Sri Lanka and the Philippines.

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