Guam’s Korean Catholics pray for papal visit
By Tony C. Diaz
U Matuna Si Yu’os
Though it is still only a possibility, Korean Catholics on Guam are excited and prayerfully following reports from Rome that Pope Francis is considering visiting Korea in August.
“People are very, very much excited,” said Deacon Dominic Kim, a founding member of St. Andrew Kim Catholic Church in Harmon.
“It is still not confirmed yet we understand, but we’re sure that many people from Guam – especially us Koreans –would like to go back to Korea to see him if the Pope comes to Korea,” said Deacon Dominic.
“I certainly would like to go myself, to see him,” he said. “So we are very excited about it.” Vatican officials told news media in Rome late last month that a possible papal trip to South Korea in August is definitely being considered as are invitations much later to the Philippines and Sri Lanka, the Catholic News Service reported recently.
“It’s true,” an invitation for Pope Francis to visit South Korea, “is being studied,” but the Vatican is not ready to confirm the trip will take place nor announce dates, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi told journalists Jan. 22.
He said the possible trip to Korea would be to coincide with the 4th Asian Youth Day in Daejeon, South Korea, scheduled for Aug. 10-17. Father Lombardi also said, “It’s true there are invitations” for the pope to visit the Philippines and Sri Lanka and that a possible trip to those countries is being studied, “but it is not for this year.”
Pope Francis had told reporters July 28 during a flight back to Rome from World Youth Day in Brazil that “papal trips are always good.” U Matuna first published news last July of the Pope considering a trip to the Philippines. During his chat with reporters on the plan in July, the pope confirmed to reporters that he already had invitations to go to Sri Lanka and the Philippines. “I must go to Asia,” he said, because Pope Benedict XVI did not manage to visit the continent in his eight-year pontificate and Asia “is important.”
There are more than 5 million Catholics in South Korea, according to Cardinal-designate Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State. He recently celebrated Mass with members of Pontifical Korean College in Rome to mark the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Holy See and South Korea. In related news, Archbishop of Seoul, Andrew Yeom Soo-jung told the Agenzia Fides (Fides Agency) this week that the Korean Church is very hopeful.
“An apostolic visit of Pope Francis in Korea would be a message of hope to all countries in Asia,” the Korean archbishop told Agenzia Fides.
“We hope with all our heart that this happens. It would also give great motivation to the Korean Church to continue to work on the evangelization of Asia.”
Editor’s note – Some information for this story used by permission from Agenzia Fides (Fides Agency). See www.fides.org.