Pope Francis’ Homily at Concluding Mass for 6th Asian Youth Day – full text

Pope Francis at the Mass near Gwanghwamun Gate, central Seoul, South Korea on Aug. 16 during the beatification of 124 martyrs who were killed between 1791 and 1888, because of their faith. - screenshot from live stream coverage

Pope Francis at the Mass near Gwanghwamun Gate, central Seoul, South Korea on Aug. 16 during the beatification of 124 martyrs who were killed between 1791 and 1888, because of their faith. – screenshot from live stream coverage                                       

  “Let Christ turn your natural optimism into Christian hope, your energy into moral virtue, your good will into genuine self-sacrificing love!”

              – Pope Francis at Concluding Mass for 6th Asian Youth Day

                 Haemi Castle Square, South Korea, Aug. 17, 2014

 

Dear Young Friends,

The glory of the martyrs shines upon you!

These words – a part of the theme of the Sixth Asian Youth Day – console and strengthen us all. Young people of Asia: you are the heirs of a great testimony, a precious witness to Christ. He is the light of the world; he is the light of our lives! The martyrs of Korea – and innumerable others throughout Asia – handed over their bodies to their persecutors; to us they have handed on a perennial witness that the light of Christ’s truth dispels all darkness, and the love of Christ is gloriously triumphant. With the certainty of his victory over death, and our participation in it, we can face the challenge of Christian discipleship today, in our own circumstances and time.

The words which we have just reflected upon are a consolation. The other part of this day’s theme – Asian Youth! Wake up!– speaks to you of a duty, a responsibility. Let us consider for a moment each of these words.

Participant leads prayers of the faithful at Mass presided by Pope Francis on the closing of 6th Asian Youth Day Aug. 17, 2014. - screen shot of news coverage.

Participant leads prayers of the faithful at Mass presided by Pope Francis on the closing of 6th Asian Youth Day Aug. 17, 2014. – screen shot of news coverage.

First, the word “Asian”. You have gathered here in Korea from all parts of Asia. Each of you has a unique place and context where you are called to reflect God’s love. The Asian continent, imbued with rich philosophical and religious traditions, remains a great frontier for your testimony to Christ, “the way, and the truth and the life” (Jn 14:6). As young people not only in Asia, but also as sons and daughters of this great continent, you have a right and a duty to take full part in the life of your societies. Do not be afraid to bring the wisdom of faith to every aspect of social life!

screen grab live coverage of the Mass closing 6th Asian Youth Day in Korea Aug. 17, 2014 led by Pope Francis.

screen grab live coverage of the Mass closing 6th Asian Youth Day in Korea Aug. 17, 2014 led by Pope Francis.

As Asians too, you see and love, from within, all that is beautiful, noble and true in your cultures and traditions. Yet as Christians, you also know that the Gospel has the power to purify, elevate and perfect this heritage. Through the presence of the Holy Spirit given you in Baptism and sealed within you at Confirmation, and in union with your pastors, you can appreciate the many positive values of the diverse Asian cultures. You are also able to discern what is incompatible with your Catholic faith, what is contrary to the life of grace bestowed in Baptism, and what aspects of contemporary culture are sinful, corrupt, and lead to death.

Returning to the theme of this Day, let us reflect on a second word: “Youth”. You and your friends are filled with the optimism, energy and good will which are so characteristic of this period of life. Let Christ turn your natural optimism into Christian hope, your energy into moral virtue, your good will into genuine self-sacrificing love! This is the path you are called to take. This is the path to overcoming all that threatens hope, virtue and love in your lives and in your culture. In this way your youth will be a gift to Jesus and to the world.

Religious men and women joined the closing Mass of the 6th Asian Youth Day led by Pope Francis Aug. 17, 2014 in Korea. - screen grab from live coverage.

Religious men and women joined the closing Mass of the 6th Asian Youth Day led by Pope Francis Aug. 17, 2014 in Korea. – screen grab from live coverage.

As young Christians, whether you are workers or students,whether you have already begun a career or have answered the call to marriage, religious life or the priesthood, you are not only a part of the future of the Church; you are also a necessary and beloved part of the Church’s present! You are the present of the Church. Keep close to one another, draw ever closer to God, and with your bishops and priests spend these years in building a holier, more missionary and humble Church – a Church which loves and worships God by seeking to serve the poor, the lonely, the infirm and the marginalized.

Delegate prays for Churches in Asia during Prayers of the Faithful of the Mass led by Pope Francis at the close of 6th Asian Youth Day Aug. 17 in Korea. - screen grab live coverage

Delegate prays for Churches in Asia during Prayers of the Faithful of the Mass led by Pope Francis at the close of 6th Asian Youth Day Aug. 17 in Korea. – screen grab live coverage

In your Christian lives, you will find many occasions that will tempt you, like the disciples in today’s Gospel, to push away the stranger, the needy, the poor and the broken-hearted. It is these people especially who repeat, today, the cry of the woman of the Gospel: “Lord, help me!” The Canaanite woman’s plea is the cry of everyone who searches for love, acceptance, and friendship with Christ. It is the cry of so many people in our anonymous cities, the cry of so many of your own contemporaries, and the cry of all those martyrs who even today suffer persecution and death for the name of Jesus: “Lord, help me!” Let us respond, not like those who push away people who make demands on us, as if serving the needy gets in the way of our being close to the Lord. No! We are to be like Christ, who responds to every plea for his help with love, mercy and compassion.

Thousands of young Catholics from around Asia gathered for Mass led by Pope Francis at the close of 6th Asian Youth Day, Aug. 17, 2014 near Haemi Shrine, South Korea. - screen grab from live coverage.

Thousands of young Catholics from around Asia gathered for Mass led by Pope Francis at the close of 6th Asian Youth Day, Aug. 17, 2014 near Haemi Shrine, South Korea. – screen grab from live coverage.

Finally, the third part of this Day’s theme – “Wake up!” –Wake up! speaks of a responsibility which the Lord gives you. It is the duty to be vigilant, not to allow the pressures, the temptations and the sins of ourselves or others to dull our sensitivity to the beauty of holiness, to the joy of the Gospel. Today’s responsorial psalm invites us constantly to “be glad and sing for joy”. No one who sleeps can sing, dance or rejoice. It’s no good when I see young people who are asleep. No! Wake up. Go. Go. Go ahead. Dear young people, “God, our God, has blessed us!” (Ps 67:6); from him we have “received mercy” (Rom 11:30). Assured of God’s love, go out to the world so that, “by the mercy shown to you”, they – your friends, co-workers, neighbors, countrymen, everyone on this great continent – “may now receive the mercy of God” (cf. Rom 11:31). It is by his mercy that we are saved.

Dear young people of Asia, it is my hope that, in union with Christ and the Church, you will take up this path, which will surely bring you much joy. Now, as we approach the table of the Eucharist, let us turn to our Mother Mary, who brought Jesus to the world. Yes, Mother Mary, we long to have Jesus; in your maternal affection help us to bring him to others, to serve him faithfully, and to honor him in every time and place, in this country and throughout Asia. Amen.

Young people, Wake Up!

Asian bishops, youth pitch in to build, renew Church

Indian Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai, Secretary General of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC) walking during the welcome procession for delegates of the X FABC Plenary Assembly in Xuan Loc Pastoral Center compound Dec. 11, 2012. - N.J. Viehland Photos

Indian Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai, President of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) greets Vietnamese welcome team during the procession for delegates of the X FABC Plenary Assembly on opening day, Dec. 11, 2012 in Xuan Loc Pastoral Center complex. – N.J. Viehland Photos

[updated Aug. 18, 2014, 1:15 pm] 

Indian Cardinal Oswald Gracias of  Mumbai (Bombay), who serves in the 9-member Council of Cardinal Advisers Pope Francis established in April 2013, carries out official tasks in the 6th Asian Youth Day (AYD) that closes near Haemi Castle, South Korea today because he is also President of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC).

The Youth Desk of the decades-old voluntary association of Bishops’ conferences in the continent has coordinated the overall AYD events since the gathering of youth ministers and Catholic youth in Asia was launched in the 1990s. The host for AYD, however, serves as the team coordinating implementation of activities and events, explained Father Ramond O’Toole, a Scarboro missionary priest who serves as FABC’s Secretary General.

Cardinal Gracias was to address several of the events during the Korea visit, including AYD’s Aug. 15 Mass at 6:30 a.m. when he was to deliver the homily, Father O’Toole told Catholic in Asia on Aug. 10.

“The cardinal will also speak when the Holy Father meets with the Asian Bishops, and also at the closing mass of AYD to thank the Holy Father and to announce the venue of the next AYD,” FABC’s Secretary General added. Both of these events are scheduled today.

Manila Archbishop Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle who has chaired the FABC’s Office of Theological Concerns since 2007, Hong Kong’s bishop Cardinal John TongHon, the only Chinese cardinal to be born in Hong Kong, and a host of other bishops serving as presidents of bishops’ conferences in their countries, as heads of various dioceses around the region, or in the Vatican are also expected to join the pope’s meeting with Asian bishops.

For AYD, however, Archbishop Patrick D’Rozario of Dhaka, Bangladesh, Bishop Chairman of the Office of Laity and Family (OLF) will represent the FABC Youth Desk, which comes under OLF. Filipino Bishop Joel Baylon of Legazpi, member of OLF responsible for Youth Desk, and Bangladeshi Fr. Patrick Simon Gomes FABC Youth Desk Secretary also form part of the FABC’s delegation to AYD 2014.

Father O’Toole who is now with the FABC team in Korea had told Catholic in Asia organizers invited 2,000 people from across Asia to attend Youth Day activities, “but with the Pope’s visit, this number may increase.” 

A report from the British Broadcasting Company (BBC), for example, estimated a crowd of 6,000 youths joined the Aug. 15 AYD gathering which Pope Francis addressed.

Rupert Wingfield-Hayes in Seoul wrote:

There is something in the manner of Pope Francis that seems to win people over, Catholics and non-Catholics, wherever he goes. And he has done it again here in South Korea.
His lack of formality has shone through. On Friday he stopped in the middle of a prepared speech to a gathering of young Catholics and said he wanted to “speak directly from his heart, without reading from a piece of paper,” but that his English was not good enough”. “No!” shouted the 6,000 teenagers in one voice.

FABC’s statutes as a voluntary association of bishops’  conferences in the region approved by the Holy See in 1972 established the association to foster among its members solidarity and co-responsibility for the welfare of Church and society in the region that now includes Central Asia in addition to the original membership from southeast, south and east Asia.

“The Asian Church, especially under the leadership of the late Cardinal Stephen Kim Sou-hwan of Seoul, wanted to have the local Churches of Asia in the various countries, first of all to appropriate the Second Vatican Council, (Vatican II1962-1965) and what were the new initiatives and the new directives of that Council with regard to the local Churches. That was the main purpose,” Filipino Jesuit theologian Father Catalino Arevalo said in a 2012 interview for FABC’s 40th anniversary.

Father Arevalo recalled Cardinal Kim, other bishops and priests at an initial meeting wanted to set up a permanent structure where the leaders of the Asian Churches, beginning with the bishops, but not just the bishops, would gather together regularly to share their experiences, to develop within the group itself what the local Churches (Churches in every country) would do to bring the realities of Vatican II into action in the Asian region.

“That was the beginning purpose of it. Therefore also, to find what was the vision in the Asian Churches precisely with regard to how to make the Second Vatican Council as effective and as creative within the local Churches of Asia and that the local Churches of Asia would begin also to see what they had in common,” Father Arevalo added. They also looked into how they could collaborate with each other in bringing the movements inside the Church that they had in common flourish to make Vatican II a reality in the local Churches of Asia.

Members of Missionaries of Charity, which is among those whose houses of charity were ruined by Typhoon Haiyan in Palo archdiocese, Leyte filled many pews on the Day of Lament and Hope service led by Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila in San Fernando de Dilao Church, Paco, Manila Nov. 16. NJ Viehland Photo

Philippine community members of India-based Missionaries of Charity joined prayers on the Day of Lament for victims of calamities led by Cardinal Luis Tagle of Manila in San Fernando de Dilao Church, Paco, Manila Nov. 16. NJ Viehland Photo

He considers that meeting held when Pope Paul VI was making his first visit to Asia as the foundation of FABC, “and then it took about 2 or 3 years for it to come into realization, in the first meeting of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences in Taipei in 1974.” 

By 1991, during the World Youth Day in Czestochowa (Poland), representatives from over 30 Asian countries attended the Third International Youth Forum during which they expressed their hopes of establishing different channels and networks for various kinds of exchanges and organizing activities especially designed for Catholic youths in Asia.

Later, youth representatives at the 1993 youth consultation conference in Bangkok, Thailand suggested that a youth working group be formed as a parish-based subsidiary of FABC to gather support for youth leaders within the organization and to enhance mutual cooperation and links among youth parish groups from Asian countries.

FABC’s Youth Desk was officially established in 1994 forming the team that has since  then organized a series of activities for Asian youths and youth leaders, including the Asian Youth Gathering during the World Youth Day, Asian Youth Ministers’ Meeting and AYD.

Multi-media publications and documentation of activities of Philippine Conference on New Evangelization were produced daily with help from young volunteers. By NJ Viehland

Multi-media publications and documentation of activities of Philippine Conference on New Evangelization were produced daily with help from young volunteers. By NJ Viehland

 

AYD is the coming together of Catholic youths from different Asian countries in weeklong activities including formation programs, workshops, prayer and worship, Bible sharing and sharing with people from other religious groups.

This year’s program centers on the theme: “Asian Youth! Wake Up! The Glory of the Martyrs Shines on You.” 

Asia and the Pacific are reportedly home to 45 percent of the world’s youth amounting to 700 million young people, but disparities exist. For example, South Asia is home to 26 percent of the world’s entire youth population representing up to 20 percent of the south’s population, but in East Asia, only 17 percent of the population fall in the youth sector.

 

Pope Francis Korean trip themes: youth, martyrs, peace

Korean boys, among tens of thousands of Korean students in the Philippines, attend Mass at St Vincent Korean Catholic Community center in Loyola Heights, Quezon City, northeast of Manila. - NJ Viehland Photos

Korean boys, among tens of thousands of Korean students in the Philippines, attend Mass at St Vincent Korean Catholic Community center in Loyola Heights, Quezon City, northeast of Manila. – NJ Viehland Photos

Statue and dedication stone of St. Kim Dae Gun at the Korean Personal Parish in Taguig, Pasig diocese, east of Manila. - NJ Viehland Photos

Statue and dedication stone of St. Kim Dae Gun at the Korean Personal Parish in Taguig, Pasig diocese, east of Manila. – NJ Viehland Photos

 

The Vatican Wednesday released details of Pope Francis’ upcoming mid-August trip South Korea, saying the trip’s major themes will be: youth, martyrs and peace.

Read Pope Francis’ Aug. 14-Aug.18 program of activities in Korea

Eagerness grows over papal visits to Asia

Updated May 29 11:15 a.m.

MANILA – Reports of Pope Francis’ inflight announcement of plans to visit the Philippines and Sri Lanka in January spread quickly in media here Tuesday, but Catholics are not the only Asian people excited for a visit from the pope.

Read full report here Eagerness grows over Pope Francis’ visits to Asia

The official website of the Archdiocese of Colombo also reported that Pope Francis’ announcement of the January 2015 visit has been received with delight in the south Asian country.  

Cardinal Ranjith, President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Sri Lanka invited Pope Francis to visit his country during the Ad Limina visit of the Bishops’ Conference this month.

Eye Sri Lanka earlier this month had quoted Bishop Rayappu Joseph of Manna as saying that the papal visit to Sri Lanka “is scheduled for 13-15 January 2015.” 

Bishop Joseph was one of 13 Sri Lankan bishops who were in Rome May 2-3 for their ad limina visit. He reportedly told Asia News that Pope Francis in addressing the bishops of Sri Lanka encouraged the Church in its efforts towards national reconciliation. The pope reportedly said even though the nearly 26 year-old war ended in 2009, much needs to be done towards reconciliation, respect for human rights and true peace. 

Click here to read the full report Pope Francis will visit Sri Lanka in January 2015?

Related posts:

What can Asia expect of upcoming papal visits?

Papal visit to Korea motto and logo released

New Philippines bishops’ head: Church marches to the beat of Pope Francis

 Ruki Fernando out of detention – is he free?

Other voices:

Sri Lanka monks occupy ministry building – Buddhist nationalist group Ravana Balaya stages sit-in at religious affairs ministry against religious police unit.

 

 

“The whole country is in an atmosphere of funeral” – South Korea bishop

Bishop Peter Kang U-il in an e-mail to Catholic in Asia on Easter Sunday wrote, “The whole country is in an atmosphere of funeral” for passengers of the ship that sank off South Korea on Holy Wednesday on its way to his island that has been billed as Korea’s Hawaii.

“Everybody is praying for the dead and the missing persons. Many from the Coast Guard, Police force and civil officials as well as volunteers are (doing) their best to save those who are still missing, but no one could be optimistic at this point,” shared Bishop Kang who is also president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Korea.

He adds, “Since so many teenage school students were included in this incident, many people feel a great compassion and pity on their death.”

Media reports two days after the bishop’s letter said 58 bodies of confirmed dead have been taken back to land and 248 people remained missing after Sewol Ferry carrying mostly school children going on holiday to Jeju (Cheju) seemed to have smashed into rocks, tilted and sank as it tried to make a turn.

[Prayers and messages for the passengers, their relatives and friends and for everyone involved in the accident, rescue, probe and healing efforts are welcome in the comments section below.]

“At this moment many raise the question on an appropriate measure which should be taken by relevant authority. Government source (has not issued an) overall official statement yet on why and how this could happen,” Kang reported.

He echoed people’s criticism of government’s failure to “execute an effective and integral leadership to cope with this disaster,”  including mobilizing a crisis team composed of  expert professionals that could take needed action for rescue, recovery and probe of the disaster.

He recommends the country use the “good occasion” the accident offers for them to review the system of safety and “security in every level of society.”

“It seems that it will take still some more time to analyze and make clear the exact cause of this incident and all the elements which gave impact to it,” Bishop Kang concedes.

Cheju was created an apostolic prefecture in 1971 and elevated to diocese with Missionary Society of St. Columban Bishop Harold Henry as its first bishop. Bishop Kang is its fourth bishop.

 

 

Philippines parish takes Way of the Cross to the streets

Good Friday at San Isidro Parish, Bagong Silangan community, Quezon City, in pictures:

san isidro Mary NJ Viehland

Youth and Worship committees of San Isidro Labrador Parish in the Diocese of Novaliches took the Stations of the Cross to the streets of their teeming community northeast of Manila on this steamy Good Friday and was met with this:


san isidro kids climb NJ Viehland

Boys climb to catch a glimpse of actors re-enacting Jesus’ crowning with thorns. NJ Viehland

san isidro kids on jeep NJ Viehland

san isidro youth senakulo kids NJ Viehland

san isidro senakulo children bus NJ Viehland

Curious children take refuge from scorching sun and watch from inside a parked bus. NJ Viehland

Children and elders among the 100,000 parishioners wanted to catch a glimpse of “Jesus Christ” and his “tormentors, followers” and his “mother.”

Parish priest Father Aris Escobal of the Order of Carmelites (OCarm), Philippines, agreed to hold the Good Friday activity called “Senakulo” around the parish this year. “Older parishioners resisted, but the youth were eager,” he told Catholic in Asia. Eventually the Parish Youth Group and Worship Committee worked together also in collaboration with Basic Ecclesial Communities that set up the stations of the cross and Titus Brandsma Media Center of the Philippines OCarm.

After catechesis on the suffering, death and resurrection of Christ, youth worked out their scripts, prayers, music, props, routes, decorated their costumes and re-enacted the story of Christ’s passion, death and resurrection.

san isidro costume NJ Viehland

san isidro group pic NJ Viehland

san isidro alindayu NJ Viehland

Rev. Arnold Alindayu, OCarm deacon lent a hand (with Krisna Furing as Herod). NJ Viehland

Most of the short dramas were staged in the streets after short processions up and down the hilly Bagong Silangan community under the scorching sun

san isidro way of the cross NJ Viehland

san isidro soldiers NJ Viehland

The community prayed their last stations in their favorite place to hang out – the basketball court near the church.

San Isidro youth Way of the Cross point NJ Viehlandsan isidro labrador Youth senakulo NJ Viehlandsan isidro youth senakulo crowd NJ Viehland

“Because by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world,” they prayed together. The look on these children’s faces remind me of Pope Francis’ tweet : @Pontifex How beautiful it is to stand before the Crucifix, simply to be under the Lord’s gaze, so full of love. (EG 264)

san isidro fr escobal youth NJ ViehlandFr. Aris Escobal, OCarm (center in brown) with San Isidro Parish Youth

[more to follow on these “Easter people” of San Isidro parish)

Papal visit to Korea motto and logo released

2014-04-08 Vatican Radio (Vatican Radio) “Arise! Shine, for your light has come, the glory of the LORD has dawned upon you” (Is, 60:1).

This is the motto for Pope Francis’ upcoming Apostolic Voyage to Korea (14 to 18 August 2014), the first Papal trip to the nation since Blessed John Paul II’s visit 25 years ago.

The motto and logo were presented to the Vatican by a delegation from the Korean Bishop’s Conference organizing committee who are in Rome this week to finalize the latest details of events. The group is led by Fr. Chung Ui-chul and Fr. Hur Young- Yup, respectively in charge of Liturgical Celebrations and Public Relations for the papal visit.

Fr Simon Kim Hyoung-sung of Jenju Diocese in South Korea is resident priest of St. Vincent Korean Catholic Community in Loyola Heights, Quezon City, northeast of Manila - NJ Viehland Photos

Fr Simon Kim Hyoung-sung of Jenju Diocese in South Korea is resident priest of St. Vincent Korean Catholic Community in Loyola Heights, Quezon City, northeast of Manila – NJ Viehland Photos

The official logo for the event is two intertwining flames, one blue and the other red, which rise from two waves that represent a boat. The colors indicate the two Koreas and the intertwining of the flames aims to emphasize a desire for the reunification of the two nations. The blue waves that form the boat are shaped like knife blades, a sign of the sacrifice of the martyrs of the Korean Church. The blue stands for God’s mercy which is as great as the ocean.

Pope Francis is travelling to South Korea for two main purposes. Firstly for the 6th Asian Youth Day (AYD), August 13-17, which is taking place in the diocese of Daejeon and will gather young Christians together from across the continent under the motto “Asian Youth! Wake up! The glory of the martyrs shines upon you”.

Statue and dedication stone of St. Kim Dae Gun at the Korean Personal Parish in Taguig, Pasig diocese, east of Manila. - NJ Viehland Photos

Statue and dedication stone of St. Kim Dae Gun at the Korean Personal Parish in Taguig, Pasig diocese, east of Manila. – NJ Viehland Photos

The AYD motto also points to the second purpose of Pope Francis visit: the beatification of 124 Korean martyrs. These are Paul Yun Ji-chung, the first Korean martyr, and 123 companions who were executed between 1791 and 1888 for the Faith by the Joseon Dynasty. 30 years ago, Pope John Paul II visited Korea for the canonization ceremony of 103 Korean martyrs including Andrew Kim Tae-gon, the first Korean native priest.

Asia is home to the world’s fastest growing Catholic community, more than doubling in numbers in the last century, despite remaining an overall religious minority. In Korea, Catholicism has grown by an estimated 70% over the past decade – numbering more than five million faithful – about ten percent of the national population.

Korean boys, among tens of thousands of Korean students in the Philippines, attend Mass at St Vincent Korean Catholic Community center in Loyola Heights, Quezon City, northeast of Manila. - NJ Viehland Photos

Korean boys, among tens of thousands of Korean students in the Philippines, attend Mass at St Vincent Korean Catholic Community center in Loyola Heights, Quezon City, northeast of Manila. – NJ Viehland Photos