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Memory, hope and witness

· A year after Pope Francis’ visit to Korea ·

A year has already pass since Pope Francis’ visit to Korea, bringing a message of love and peace during his five-day stay”. Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo-jungm, Archbishop of Seoul, recalled the visit by the Pontiff, who had emphasized three key words during his journey: memory, hope and witness. 

The Cardinal indicated that Francis’ visit was not only a great opportunity for Korea, but for all of northeast Asia. “For the people of Korea, who have truly suffered through various difficulties, it was a celebration of joy and sharing. The message of joy that he brought us bore precious fruit throughout Korea. This year the number of baptisms has reached 124,748, increasing by approximately five percent”. Such a reprise, after a continuous drop since 2010, has been interpreted in general terms as the Francis effect”. The Church of Korea recalls the emotion, the optimism and hope kindled in the hearts of those who attended or participated in those days. “Now we must understand the true significance and the spirituality contained in the Pontiff’s lessons”, the Cardinal concluded.

The Archdiocese of Seoul has announced that a stone plaque, measuring 1m high and 1,7m wide, will be place in Gwanghwamun Square to commemorate the historic visit made by the Pope from 14 to 18 August 2014. The unveiling ceremony will be held on 23 August. Thus, the place where Francis celebrated Mass for the beatification of Paul Yun Ji-chung and his 123 companion martyrs, the very site where many Korean Catholics were assassinated on account of their faith, will become a place of pilgrimage, a symbol of freedom and equality.

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