Seoul (Agenzia Fides) - "As descendants of martyrs who have been forced to suffer persecution and suffering, and as members of the Asian Church, we invite all the faithful of the universal Church to follow the itinerary of pilgrimage to the shrines of the martyrs in Seoul": this is the invitation of Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo-jung, Archbishop of Seoul, on the occasion of the special week that, from 10 to 15 September, represents a moment to celebrate the "Pilgrimage routes to Seoul": this process, which touches the main sanctuaries dedicated to the martyrs in the city, is this year proclaimed "International Pilgrimage", officially recognized by the Holy See, for the first time in Asia. As reported to Agenzia Fides by the Communications Office of the Archdiocese, the proclamation ceremony will take place on September 14th in the Shrine of the martyrs of Seosomun, the largest shrine of the martyrs of Korea.
Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo-jung, the bishops of the Archdiocese of Seoul, over 30 Asian Catholic leaders from 13 countries and 30 young Catholic leaders from 9 countries will celebrate Holy Mass together, followed by the Vatican recognition ceremony of the "Catholic Pilgrimage of Seoul", in the presence of Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, and of Archbishop Afred Xuereb, Apostolic Nuncio in South Korea.
The beginning of this process was the initiative of Cardinal Yeom to hold a "Pilgrimage in the Archdiocese of Seoul" in September 2013, followed by the apostolic visit of Pope Francis to Korea in 2014. The Archdiocese of Seoul therefore officially organized an "pilgrimage itinerary" that touches the sites of martyrdom, highlighting their historical and spiritual significance, in collaboration with the local government. The pilgrimage routes consist of three parts: "The Good News Road", "The Eternal Life Road" and "The Unity Road".
Moreover, in order to celebrate this special occasion, the historic Sanctuary of the martyrs of Seosomun will be open to the public beforehand, given that the official opening is scheduled for the end of 2018. The place is one of the key sites of martyrdom, where 44 saints of the Korean Catholic Church (out of 103) and 27 blessed (out of 124) were martyred.
On 13 September, the Archdiocese of Seoul have organized the international symposium "Cultural Tradition in Asia and Christianity" to deepen the presence of the Christian faith in Korea, China and Malaysia. (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 11/9/2018)