04/04/2014, 00.00

Daejeon, all religions ready to welcome the Pope

by Pietro Kim Jaedeok
The "Conference of Religious for Peace" concludes with a joint declaration signed by leaders of Catholic, Protestant, Anglican, Buddhist and Confucian faithful: "We are very happy for his visit, it will help peace and the interfaith movement". Billboards of welcome will be posted on the various sacred places throughout the area. And a venerable Buddhist writes: "His love for the poor and the sick is awe- inspiring, I have a lot of respect for him".

Daejeon (AsiaNews) - The announced visit of Pope Francis to South Korea is also helping the interreligious movement and ongoing dialogue in the country. For Koreans of all religions the expression "Francis effect" means: "The spirit of the pope and his action for the poor stirs the hearts of Catholics but also of non-Catholics". And a local Buddhist leader adds: "Having seen him in action, I think he brings a little bit of Heaven to the poor and the sick. I have great respect for him".

This was the climate of interreligious collaboration that pervaded the "Conference of Religious for Peace", which involves the areas of Daejeon Sejong and Chungnam. The group, led by the Catholic bishop Msgr. Lazzaro You Heung- sik, includes the Anglican community, represented by Bishop Kwan Heiyeon; Buddhists , with the vice president in the person of Ven. Beubrun; Protestants, represented by Pastor Nam Jaeyoung and Confucians, represented by Oh Donghwan . The Secretary-General is Ven. Zigang , head of the Nokyawon Buddhist temple.

The meeting was held on April 2 in Daejeon, since the Pope's visit is linked to the Asian Youth Day which will take place right in this diocese. During the meeting, Msgr. You explained that the purpose of Francis' visit is to meet with young Asians and beatify the 124 "new" Korean martyrs .

All of the representatives were in agreement that the Pope "will bring peace and true joy to Korea" and help the interreligious movement and ongoing dialogue: they all announced that they will post welcome banners for Pope Francis on the doors of the sacred places of the various faiths.

The day after the meeting, the venerable Ongsan former leader of the Buddhist Sudeoksa temple, which lies very close to the places the pope will visit - wrote a letter to the " Daejeon Journal" titled: "I welcome the visit of Pope Francis" . In his letter he writes: "I am impressed by the pope's actions for the poor. Last year I read that Francis kissed a sufferer of Neurofibroma during the general audience , and that the sick man said he had felt a little bit of Heaven in the Pope's embrace.  This made me think that this Pope is someone who brings Heaven to the poor and the sick. His action in favor of the poor and the sick, helps me to overcome the walls between religions. I have a great respect for him " .


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