Daejeon (AsiaNews) - The Pope's visit to Korea "is a source of hope and strength for the youth of Asia" and an opportunity "for a decisive change of direction, so that the Korean people and Church - so often weighed down by materialism and torn by the division between North and South- may grow". This is the focus of a letter written by Msgr. Lazzaro You Heung- sik, bishop of Daejeon to the faithful and the clergy of the diocese. This coming August the bishop will host the Asian Youth Day in his diocese which, as confirmed yesterday by the Vatican, will be attended by Pope Francis. Below we publish the full text of the letter.
Dear priests, religious, brothers and sisters,
I wish to bring you news that will fill us with joy and gratitude: Pope Francis, whom we all love and venerate, is to visit our diocese! The Pope, along with the ceremony of beatification of the Servant of God Paul Yun Ji- chung and 123 companions, martyrs and his love for young people who are experiencing difficult times, wants to attend the Asian Youth Day which will be held in August in our region. We all, with one heart, welcome him with unspeakable joy and gratitude.
In addition to the appointment of the new Cardinal [the Archbishop of Seoul, Card. Andrew Yeom Soo- jung -ed] I am sure the Pope's visit will become a valuable opportunity for purification and, thanks to the spirit of the martyrs, an opportunity for a decisive change of direction, that will nourish our people and our Church, often weighed down by materialism and torn by the division between north and south.
August 13 to 17 the 6th Asian Youth Day will be held in our diocese with the theme " Asian Youth! Wake up! The glory of the martyrs shines on you" as well as the celebration of the 3rd day Korean Youth Day. These events will certainly have a very special meaning because I truly believe that the young people of Asia, by participating in the Youth Day in our diocese which is rich in the spirit of the martyrs, will receive the same spirit, to counter all worldliness and selfishness with an authentic life of faith, and to be reborn again as courageous heralds of the Gospel.
Thanks to the incessant prayers of all the Korean bishops and yours, dear brothers and sisters, and thanks to the impassioned speech of Archbishop Osvaldo Padilla, Papal Nuncio in Korea, the Pope's personal participation in these celebrations will become a real source of hope and strength for young people in Asia who face many difficulties. I can only thank and praise the Lord for this!
With Pope Francis' election the Holy Spirit has revealed a new path for the Church to travel. And at the same time is showing the whole of humanity a new way in which to live. Pope Francis, which leads the lost sheep of today to the path full of joy that comes from the Gospel, is for us a new ' Pentecost ', a real 'compass of the Spirit '. The Pope "becomes all things to everyone" to make of all humanity one family, who live in unity. We welcome this Pope who, not only the Church, but the whole world loves and respects, and so the celebration of the Beatification of the Servant of God Paul Yun Ji- chung and 123 companions, martyrs, the celebration of the 6th Asian Youth Day and the 3rd Korean Youth Day, will be remembered as a genuine 'new epiphany of the Lord' which will shine the love of God on the whole world.
This is only possible if we all commit ourselves, each in his or her own way, to be like the Pope, by all becoming a "little bit like Francis". So I ask for your support! As we give thanks to the Lord who has sent us a good pastor in the person of Pope Francis, let us not concentrate on the great celebrations of one single day, but continue to always share our abilities, our prayer and our lives. We must move beyond a childish faith, always intent on asking for something for ourselves, and strive to become adults in the faith, through thanksgiving and sharing. As we have done in a moving pilgrimage on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Foundation of our diocese, we must always go forward on the road that leads to the Lord. If the Lord sees us doing this will he not say, "" ? (Luke 19:17).
I ask all the families of our diocese in a special way to be generous to young Asians and young Koreans who will come, and let them experience the tender love of God. Help them, with your evangelical and fraternal love, to experience that it is good to live and profess the same faith in the Lord.
As good descendants of the martyrs, committed to living a life where faith and action are one, we pray for the Pope and for young people. Let us pray together and seek remedies to that suffering that has entered into the world, a world in which young people are struggling to fully express their dreams and their hopes. In the unity of life and prayer, our entire diocesan community, made "one heart and one body", can best prepare, with a prayerful heart, the events that lie ahead: the beatification of the Servant of God Paul Yun Ji- chung and his 123 companions martyrs, the 6th Asian Youth Day and the 3rd Korean Youth Day.
Dear priests, religious, brothers and sisters, I love you all in the Lord. Let us walk together, without fear, towards the Lord who will guide us with his grace!