06/05/2013, 00.00
SOUTH KOREA
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Priests from Seoul Diocese on pilgrimage to Korean martyrs shrines

by Stephany Sun
With the canonisation of more than 100 witnesses killed for their faith still pending, Seoul priests travel to the martyrs' shrines. For Archbishop Yeom Soo-jung, it is an extraordinary opportunity to learn about "the lives of the country's Catholic martyrs and reflect on their faith,"

Seoul (AsiaNews) - On World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests, a pilgrimage to the shrines of the Korean martyrs in Seoul is scheduled for this Friday. The event is expected to attract 600 diocesan priests. For the first time in history, all the priests of the archdiocese will take part in the celebration.

The ceremony will begin at 10.30 am in Myeongdong Cathedral, where the adoration of the Eucharist and the Liturgy of the Word we will be celebrated. This will be followed by readings on the martyrs of Korea. The pilgrimage itself will start instead in the afternoon, when two groups of priests, following different paths, will come together in Seosomun Shrine, the biggest in the country, where a closing Mass will be held.

"This pilgrimage is an opportunity for priests and the faithful to learn about the lives of the country's Catholic martyrs and reflect on their faith," Mgr Yeom Soo-jung, archbishop of Seoul, told AsiaNews. "This year is also the 60th anniversary of the Korean War," he added, "and we shall pray for a true and lasting peace in the peninsula."

The Korean Catholic Church is waiting for the canonisation of Paul Yun Ji-chung and his 123 companions, victims of the Byeongi-in persecution (second half of the 19th century), proclaimed 'servants of God' by Pope John Paul II in 2003. The Archbishop of Daejeon, Lazarus You Heung-sik, invited Pope Francis to Korea for the occasion.

The Korean Bishops' Conference has set up a website with information about the life and martyrdom of these witnesses of Christ. AsiaNews has also presented a few of them.

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