Rio de Janeiro (AsiaNews) - The World Youth Day "was a special grace for the life of each of us, priests and young people who came to Rio from South Korea. An extraordinary and unique celebration for the Catholic Church, which Pope Francis has made it even more beautiful with his smile, friendship, and especially his message of love", Mgr. Lazzaro You Heung-sik, bishop of Daejeon and leader of the South Korean delegation composed of 350 young people to Brazil tells AsiaNews.
Before Francis return to Rome,
said Msgr. You,
"I was able to speak with the Holy Father. I told him that I was from
Korea, from a place that was very far away. He looked at me with his eyes and
his particular smile, and then I added that I had brought with me 350 young
He replied, raising his finger: 'The Korean Church is strong, keep it up!' It
was a very special and very intense moment for me. "
The long journey from the Far East to Latin America (almost 24 hours by plane from Seoul to Rio) was an incentive for the entire delegation: "Young people from 4 dioceses and in addition to these groups were organized by the Jesuits and other religious orders who work in Korea. Before leaving we tried to prepare them well at home, and the work helped us and helped us to better understand this extraordinary event. "
Waiting to travel to Rio, the
delegation stopped for a week in the diocese of Campinhas, 150 kilometers from
Sao Paolo: "They welcomed us in an extraordinary manner. All the young
Koreans lived with Brazilian families, and in this way were
able to experience different languages, cultures and colors: it was an
incredible way to remind us that we all have one Father, we are all brothers
and sisters. "
In this diocese, Msgr. You and the young Koreans have visited several parishes: "After 5 days we left Campinhas to go to Rio de Janeiro. Before leaving we celebrated a High Mass with all our new friends, and it was a mass of tears. Of joy but also of sorrow: the relationship that we had created was fantastic, no one wanted to interrupt this harmony of friendship and faith. "
The disappointment was soon replaced by the thrill of meeting Pope Francis: "In Korea, we have enormous respect for the elderly, and the smile of the Pope, his human closeness, he was like a 'grandfather' for all the young people . To overcome the language problems [the pope spoke always in Portuguese - ed] We prepared a simultaneous translation service in Korean, thanks to our priests who live here. In this way we could follow and really live - in the Year of Faith - the closeness of Jesus and experience how important hope, and charity is. "
Now everything is ready for the Asian Youth Day,
which will be held in Daejeon in August 2014: "The Korean Church has
received so much from the Churches of Asia and the world, especially during the
war between North and South. Now ,
without arrogance, we have to give a lot in return and hopefully we can get
started with this day. "
The prelate will spend another 10 days in Brazil: "I'm going to Sao Paulo, where we will be going on retreat with the Brazilian bishops. As the Pope asked us, we have to think very carefully about what was said and what has happened here in these days. The Church must become an inverted pyramid: gone are the days of isolation and arrogance, we have to get out and go towards the faithful. These things are important and must be reflected by all of us, bishops and priests, to follow the invitation of Francis. "