Some 300 young Chinese Catholics attend gathering with Francis
A large number of participants from mainland China attend final Asian Youth Day Mass despite threats and attempts by Chinese authorities to stop them. Through social networks, they agreed to come to South Korea to show Francis their love.

Daejeon (AsiaNews) - Some 300 young Catholics from mainland China attended the Mass that Pope Francis celebrated at the Haemi Castle shrine in South Korea, the final event scheduled for the 6th Asian Youth Day. They were able to come together despite bureaucratic hurdles by Chinese authorities, finding ways through social networks to meet in South Korea.

Sources in South Korea told AsiaNews that they had agreed to travel in groups of no more than three people, all with a tourist visa. Once they got to South Korea, they were careful in how they participated in Asian Youth Day events to avoid drawing too much attention to themselves.

In a related incident, the Chinese government had first blocked and even arrested members of a group of almost 80 young people who had tried to leave together from Beijing.

The group included some seminarians from the capital, who refused at the end of the school year to celebrate Mass with unlawful bishops who are not recognised by the Holy See. AsiaNews interviewed one of latter, a young Chinese who arrived in Korea with two seminarian friends.

Another, who attended the final Mass, said, "We are delighted and we are not afraid. We were smart and, up to now, everything went smooth. I am certain that Francis' blessing at the end of the Mass will protect us on our return trip". (VFP)