Seoul (Agenzia Fides) - South Korea has invited members of the Catholic community of North Korea to participate in the Mass that Pope Francis will celebrate in Seoul at the end of his pilgrimage from August 14 to 18: this was confirmed by Fr. John Bosco Byeon, Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in Korea and UnderSecretary of the Episcopal Conference. Korean Catholic community representatives have met with some members of the Catholic Church of North Korea in Shenyang, in China, on 18 and 19 May, and invited them to attend the Pope’s Mass.
Pope Francis will celebrate Mass at Myeongdong Cathedral in Seoul on August 18 and will deliver a message of peace for the Korean peninsula. According to some officials of the Government of South Korea, the North Korean representatives said they will carefully consider the invite. The Church in South Korea sincerely hopes this happens.
On May 21, Cardinal Andres Yeom Soo- jung, Archbishop of Seoul, made a historic visit to North Korea to meet with Catholics South Korean citizens committed as cross-border workers in the industrial park in Kaesong (see Fides 21/05/2014). The Cardinal expressed the hope to continue the dialogue between the two Koreas to promote peace.
Pope Francis is the second Pope to visit the country, after Pope John Paul II, who came to Korea in 1984 and 1989. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 26/05/2014)