· Vatican City ·

Pope Francis on 60 years of diplomatic relations between the Republic of Korea and the Holy See

15 December 2023

The following is the English text of a telegram Pope Francis sent to Monsignor Matthias Ri Iong-hoon, Bishop of Suwon and the president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Korea, on the occasion of the Holy Mass celebrated on Monday, 11 December, for the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the Asian country and the Holy See.

I send heartfelt good wishes and the assurance of my spiritual closeness to you, your brother bishops and all gathered for the special Mass to commemorate the sixtieth anniversary of diplomatic relations between the Republic of Korea and the Holy See. This significant celebration is a moment for giving thanks to Almighty God for the many graces received by the Catholic community and the Korean people over these past decades, and I readily associate myself with your gratitude expressed in this solemn Eucharist. In a particular way, we can be thankful for the spread of the Gospel, the growth of the local church and its contribution to the wellbeing of Korean society, and I trust that this influence will continue to bear cultural and spiritual fruits, especially for those marginalised, impoverished and without hope. In this regard, I fondly recall my visit to your country in 2014 and the beatification Mass of the Korean martyrs who out of love for Jesus and their desire to spread God’s kingdom gave their lives in this land and sowed the seeds for what has become a blossoming and vibrant Church. The youth of today are the heirs of this great testimony of faith, and I pray that they will carry on this precious witness to Christ as they prepare for the World Youth Day celebrations to be held in 2027. It is likewise my hope that the good relations between the Republic of Korea and the Holy See will continue to flourish as we work together on matters of common concern, especially peace and reconciliation on the Korean Peninsula. With these sentiments, I entrust all of you to the intercession of the Korean martyrs and Mary, Mother of the Church, and I gladly impart my blessing as a pledge of grace and peace in the Lord Jesus Christ.