Saint John Paul II's 1st Apostolic Visit to Korea
Thursday 3rd - Monday 7th May 1984
Pope St John Paul II was a pilgrim to the Korean Republic for the 1st time in 1984, the bicentenary of the Catholic Church in Korea, when he canonized 103 Korean martyrs and pronounced the solemn Act of Entrustment of Korea to Mary. On this his 21st apostolic voyage he also visited Papua-New Guinea, the Solomon Islands & Thailand; he came on pilgrimage to Korea for a second time in 1989.
During his first 3 days, John Paul II spoke at the welcome ceremony, celebrated Mass at the Major Regional Seminary of Seoul, met with the Bishops of Korea, celebrated Mass with the conferral of the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation, gave a Message for Children's Day in South Korea, met with lepers on the island of Sorok Do, spoke with members of the Diplomatic Corps to the Government of Seoul, celebrated Mass with priestly ordinations in Taegu, spoke with workers of Pusan, met with clergy and religious people, then with Korean intellectuals and artists of Korea.
On 6th May, the 3rd Sunday of Easter, Papa Giovanni Paolo II made an Act of entrustment of Korea to the Virgin Mary and celebrated Mass for the canonization of 103 Korean martyrs. After this he recited the Regina Caeli and met with the spiritual leaders of non-Christian religious communities & representatives of various Christian confessions, before speaking at the inauguration of the Korean Pastoral Conference in Seoul, and to young people. He said 'farewell' to Korea from Seoul-Kinpo Airport on Monday 7th May.
If you were with JPII at any stage of his pilgrimage and have photos you'd be happy to share or a testimony you'd be happy to give, please get in touch with the Totus2us team.
Blessed Pope John Paul II's Address at the Welcome Ceremony
at the International Airport of Seoul-Kinpo, Korea, on Thursday, 3rd May 1984 - in English & Italian
"Your Excellency the President of the Republic, Your Eminence, Beloved People of Korea,
1. "Is it not a joy indeed to have a friend come from afar?" We hear these words in the opening lines of Confucius’ Analects. May I echo them by saying: Is it not a great joy indeed to go to visit a far-off friend?
The gracious words of the President and the warm welcome accorded me by all of you, my dear friends in Korea, move me very deeply. For, ever since assuming the office of Peter’s Successor in Rome some five years ago, I have always prayed that one day I might be granted the grace and joy of coming to visit the wonderful land and the dear people of Korea. And I have always felt particularly close to you in my heart. And now here I am, come as your friend, and as an apostle of peace - of God’s own peace - to your entire land.
2. Yours is a beautiful land that through trials and tempests of a venerable history has known how to emerge ever new, full of life and youth. Yours is a proud and sturdy people which, in meeting great cultures and neighbouring powers, has remained true to its personal identity, bearing splendid fruits in art, religion, and human living. Your ancestors embraced such overwhelming spiritual worlds as Confucianism and Buddhism, yet made them truly their own, enhanced them, lived them and even transmitted them to others. Wonhyo and Sosan, T’oege and Yulgok eloquently express this feat.
So also today the marvellous flowering of the Christian faith in Korea promises to bring spiritual enrichment both to yourselves and to others. The bicentennial of the Catholic Church in your country gives me the occasion to proclaim that faith in Jesus Christ can indeed bring that enrichment to the culture, wisdom and dignity of the Korean people.
3. Yours is an open heart full of human warmth, forbearance, and humour; a generous heart that has both suffered and loved much, never giving up hope. Nor would these eminent figures alone have borne such admirable fruits. They could do so only as the sons of a great and good people, yourselves, who in the daily life of loving and sharing have ever striven to seek the truth.
Today, Korea is known and admired by all for its courage, its industry, and its will to build up a model nation from the ashes. The tragic division of a once peaceful people imposed from without, the deep wounds from the Korean Conflict, and further tragedies of more recent years - all this cannot, however, dampen or break your will to overcome obstacles and to be reunited again as one happy family.
The untold sacrifices made to achieve this end through rapid industrialization and economic growth will, I sincerely hope, bring about first of all a more human society of true justice and peace, where all life is upheld as sacrosanct, where to live is to work for the good of others, where to govern is to serve, where no one is used as a tool, no one left out and no one downtrodden, where all can live in real brotherhood.
Thus Korea will be ever more admired as a people that achieves a progress and prosperity in which everyone is loved and respected in his or her full human dignity as a child of God, to the great honour of the nation.
We know that, in order to be fully human, man must transcend himself, and seek the ultimate reality and meaning of life. This was the witness of a Yi Ch’adon in your own heritage. So it is, in another way, the witness of the 103 martyrs of Korea, outstanding among 10,000 others, who followed the footsteps of Jesus of Nazareth in dying for the truth of eternal life.
Permit me, at this time, to extend my heartfelt good wishes to the venerable Buddhist community about to celebrate on the 8th of May the Coming of Buddha. I also desire to extend fraternal greetings to the Protestant community on their centenary of generous service and witness in this land.
4. I pray that your beloved fatherland, now tragically divided into two for over a generation, will be reunited as one family, not through confrontation and hostility, but through dialogue, mutual trust, and brotherly love, giving the lie to a world more and more given to mistrust, hatred, and the violence of arms. And all the sufferings of the past and present will not have been in vain, along the road of purification that leads to resurrection and new life.
I thank you again for your warm hospitality. It is indeed as a friend that I come from afar, with a message of respect and esteem, and immense hope for the future. Upon you and your families and all the families of the Korean Peninsula I invoke God’s blessings of peace, friendship and love."
Blessed Pope John Paul II's Words before pronouncing the Solemn Act of Entrustment of Korea to Mary
at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Seoul, on Sunday, 6th May 1984 - in English & Italian
"We are gathered here this morning in this Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, the mother, as it were, of all the churches in this land, to renew once more the age-old prayer of the faithful throughout the world, a prayer very dear to the Korean Christians from the earliest days: "O Mother of God, we entrust ourselves to your protection".
When in 1837 Bishop Imbert was given the grace of finally succeeding in entering the land on a feast of Mary, he asked the Holy See to have Mary under the title of her Immaculate Conception as the Patroness of the land. This desire was later fulfilled by his successor, Bishop Ferréol, who in 1846, in the midst of a fierce persecution, quietly consecrated the people and Church of this land to the Blessed Mother, as Co-Patroness with Saint Joseph, at the small village of Surich’igol, near Kongju.
And no sooner had the Church gained freedom of worship than this Cathedral was built here on Chong’hyon, as the visible symbol of the Catholic faith in this land, hallowed by the blood of the martyrs, and solemnly dedicated by Bishop Mutel to the Immaculate Conception, on May 29, 1898.
Many, too, are the remarkable occurrences in the destiny of the Korean people that coincided with the feasts of Mary, recent among them the Liberation on August 15, 1945.
And so today, in this most beautiful month of Mary, on this most auspicious day of the entire history of the Church in Korea, when the best of her sons and daughters are to be elevated to the honours of the altar, I, John Paul II entrust anew the entire people and Church of this land to the loving protection of the Blessed Mother, Mother of Jesus and Mother of us all.
Mother of all men and all peoples,
you know the sufferings and hopes of each person.
you know the struggle between light and darkness,
between good and evil,
which is taking place in the world and within our hearts.
You bore Jesus,
the Son of Man and the Son of God,
in whom the people of Korea,
in luminous joy,
but also through much suffering,
have found "the way, the truth, and the life".
O Mother of mercy,
we now entrust to your loving heart
the entire people and the Church of this land.
Keep us from all injustice,
division, violence, and war.
Protect us from temptation
and from the bondage of sin and evil.
Be with us!
Help us to overcome doubt with faith,
selfishness with service,
pride with meekness,
hatred with love.
Help us to live the Gospel with the "foolishness" of the Cross,
bearing witness to Jesus
who died on it,
so that we may rise
with your Son unto true life
with the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit.
O Mother of Christ, comfort and give strength to all those who suffer: the poor, the lonely, the sick, the unloved, the downtrodden, the forgotten.
Pray for us!
Together with Saint Joseph,
unite us all in love.
Give peace to our divided land,
and the light of hope to all.
Show us the blessed fruit of thy womb: Jesus! Amen."
JPII's Homily at Holy Mass for the Canonization of 103 Korean Martyrs
at Youido Place, Seoul on Sunday, 6th May 1984 - in English & Italian
"Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory"? (Lk 24, 26)
"1. These words, taken from today’s Gospel, were spoken by Jesus as he was going from Jerusalem to Emmaus in the company of two of his disciples. They did not recognize him and, as to an unknown man, they described to him all that had happened in Jerusalem in these last days. They spoke of the passion and death of Jesus on the Cross. They spoke of their own shattered hopes: "We had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel" (Lk 24, 21). These hopes were buried with the death of Jesus.
The two disciples were downhearted. Even though they had heard that the women and the Apostles, on the third day after his death, had failed to find the body of Jesus in the tomb, nevertheless they were completely unaware that he had been seen alive. The disciples did not know that at that precise moment they were actually looking at him, that they were walking in his company, that they were speaking with him. Indeed, their eyes were kept from recognizing him (Lk 24, 16).
2. Then Jesus began to explain to them, from Sacred Scripture, that it was precisely through suffering that the Messiah had to reach the glory of the resurrection. The words alone however did not have the full effect. Even though their hearts were burning within them while they listened to this unknown man, nevertheless he still remained for them an unknown man. It was only during the evening meal, when he took bread, said the blessing, broke it and gave it to them that "their eyes were opened and they recognized him" (Lk 24, 31), but he then disappeared from their sight. Having recognized the risen Lord, they became witnesses for all time of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Through them, through all the Apostles, through the men and women who were witnesses of the life and death of Jesus Christ, of his Gospel and resurrection, the truth about him spread first to Jerusalem, next to all Judea, and then to other countries and peoples. It entered into the history of humanity.
3. The truth about Jesus Christ also reached Korean soil. It came by means of books brought from China. And in a most marvellous way, divine grace soon moved your scholarly ancestors first to an intellectual quest for the truth of God’s word and then to a living faith in the risen Saviour.
Yearning for an ever greater share in the Christian faith, your ancestors sent one of their own in 1784 to Peking, where he was baptized. From this good seed was born the first Christian community in Korea, a community unique in the history of the Church by reason of the fact that it was founded entirely by lay people. This fledgling Church, so young and yet so strong in faith, withstood wave after wave of fierce persecution. Thus, in less than a century, it could already boast of some 10,000 martyrs. The years 1791, 1801, 1827, 1839, 1846 and 1866 are forever signed with the holy blood of your martyrs and engraved in your hearts.
Even though the Christians in the first half century had only two priests from China to assist them, and these only for a time, they deepened their unity in Christ through prayer and fraternal love; they disregarded social classes and encouraged religious vocations. And they sought ever closer union with their bishop in Peking and the Pope in faraway Rome.
After years of pleading for more priests to be sent, your Christian ancestors welcomed the first French missionaries in 1836. Some of these, too, are numbered among the martyrs who gave their lives for the sake of the Gospel, and who are being canonized today in this historic celebration.
The splendid flowering of the Church in Korea today is indeed the fruit of the heroic witness of the martyrs. Even today, their undying spirit sustains the Christians in the Church of silence in the North of this tragically divided land.
4. Today then it is given to me, as the Bishop of Rome and Successor of Saint Peter in that Apostolic See, to participate in the Jubilee of the Church on Korean soil. I have already spent several days in your midst as a pilgrim, fulfilling as Bishop and Pope my service to the sons and daughters of the beloved Korean nation. Today’s Liturgy constitutes the culminating point of this pastoral service.
For behold: through this Liturgy of Canonization the Blessed Korean Martyrs are inscribed in the list of the Saints of the Catholic Church. These are true sons and daughters of your nation, and they are joined by a number of missionaries from other lands. They are your ancestors, according to the flesh, language and culture. At the same time they are your fathers and mothers in the faith, a faith to which they bore witness by the shedding of their blood.
From the 13 year old Peter Yu to the 72 year old Mark Chong, men and women, clergy and laity, rich and poor, ordinary people and nobles, many of them descendants of earlier unsung martyrs - they all gladly died for the sake of Christ.
Listen to the last words of Teresa Kwon, one of the early martyrs: "Since the Lord of Heaven is the Father of all mankind and the Lord of all creation, how can you ask me to betray him? Even in this world anyone who betrays his own father or mother will not be forgiven. All the more may I never betray him who is the Father of us all."
A generation later, Peter Yu’s father Augustine firmly declares: "Once having known God, I cannot possibly betray him." Peter Cho goes even further and says: "Even supposing that one’s own father committed a crime, still one cannot disown him as no longer being one’s father. How then can I say that I do not know the heavenly Lord Father who is so good?"
And what did the 17 year old Agatha Yi say when she and her younger brother were falsely told that their parents had betrayed the faith? "Whether my parents betrayed or not is their affair. As for us, we cannot betray the Lord of heaven whom we have always served". Hearing this, six other adult Christians freely delivered themselves to the magistrate to be martyred. Agatha, her parents and those other six are all being canonized today. In addition, there are countless other unknown, humble martyrs who no less faithfully and bravely served the Lord.
5. The Korean martyrs have borne witness to the crucified and risen Christ. Through the sacrifice of their own lives they have become like Christ in a very special way. The words of Saint Paul the Apostle could truly have been spoken by them: We are "always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies .. We are always being given up to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh."
The death of the martyrs is similar to the death of Christ on the Cross, because like his, theirs has become the beginning of new life. This new life was manifested not only in themselves - in those who underwent death for Christ - but it was also extended to others. It became the leaven of the Church as the living community of disciples and witnesses to Jesus Christ. "The blood of martyrs is the seed of Christians": this phrase from the first centuries of Christianity is confirmed before our eyes.
Today the Church on Korean soil desires in a solemn way to give thanks to the Most Holy Trinity for the gift of the redemption. It is of this gift that St Peter writes: "You were ransomed . . . not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ". To this lofty price, to this price of the redemption, your Church desires, on the basis of the witness of the Korean martyrs, to add an enduring witness of faith, hope and charity.
Through this witness may Jesus Christ be ever more widely known in your land: the crucified and risen Christ. Christ, the way and the truth and the life. Christ, true God: the Son of the living God. Christ, true man: the Son of the Virgin Mary.
Once at Emmaus two disciples recognized Christ "in the breaking of the bread". On Korean soil may ever new disciples recognize him in the Eucharist. Receive his body and blood under the appearances of bread and wine, and may he the Redeemer of the world receive you into the union of his body, through the power of the Holy Spirit.
May this solemn day become a pledge of life and of holiness for future generations. Jesus Christ has risen from the dead and is living in his Church today. "Yes it is true. The Lord has risen". Amen. Alleluia!"
Blessed John Paul II's Words before praying the Regina Caeli
at Youido Place, Seoul on Sunday, 6th May 1984 - in English & Italian
"We have just celebrated together the happiest day, the greatest feast, in the whole history of the Church in Korea.
Our hearts brim with joy. How shall we ever give enough thanks and praise to the Lord of Heaven, Father of us all, who has done such "great things" in this his beloved land of Korea? And for having given us in these holy Martyrs such splendid models of faith, courage, and love? The universal Church is with you here at Youido on this glorious day, rejoicing and praising the Lord: Gloria in excelsis Deo!
Today, your holy ancestors are glorified with the glory of the Risen Lord. Because they bore witness to him unto death, united to his Cross, they now share in his risen life forever. They have thus entered into the joy of Mary, who at the foot of the Cross shared in the passion and death of her Son, our Saviour. The Queen of Martyrs rejoices with you!
But, as with most great feasts, we cannot fail to remember those dear to us who could not come to share in the joy: those brethren in the North of this land, and those also in China through which Korea came to know Christ. We pray that they may continue to be strong in bearing witness to the faith. May Mary the Mother of us all comfort and strengthen them as we now invoke her as Mother of heaven!"
Blessed Pope John Paul II's Words to Young People
at "Changchungdong" Sport Palace, Seoul, on Sunday, 6th May 1984 - in English & Italian
"Dear young people of Seoul, dear young people of Korea,
1. I am so happy to meet you and to embrace you in the love of Jesus Christ our Lord.
I am happy to meet you precisely because you are young. For to be young means being able to appreciate sincerity. It means searching for the path to a life that is worthwhile. To be young is to be attracted to truth, justice, freedom, peace, beauty and goodness. To be young means being eager to live, but to live joyfully, meaningfully: to live a life worth living.
To be young means to be full of ideals and hopes. It also means to experience loneliness, and the fear that these precious hopes may not be fulfilled. And the more you love life, the greater your hopes, the greater too sometimes are your fears. Because what is at stake is too important to be lost: the one life that God gave you, which no one else can live for you. To be a young Christian is all this and more: it means to be alive in Christ!
2. You have chosen as the theme of this meeting: "God - I - People". These are important words. But for you they are more than words. They pose questions filled with hope and anguish. They are the great challenges and aspirations on which the outcome of your lives depends. That is why you want to speak about these subjects, inquire about them, pray about them, and do something about them - alone, with others, with God.
As typical young people, you have important questions about life: life at home, in school, in the wider context of adult society. There are many things in your own lives that trouble you: why must school be a place of such pitiless competition? Why is there such a difference between what you are told at home and what you hear at school? Why do your seniors seem so unwilling to understand and accept you, your ideas and your wishes? What are you to think of all the dishonesty, contradictions, and injustices around you - all of which are presented to you as being inevitable in the social context? Why must life be such an uphill struggle against built-in obstacles, especially for those of you who are already working so hard in your young years? What can you do about peace in your own country and in today’s world, so full of violence and hatred?
You have questions too about the Church. Is she close enough to you? Can she really inspire you to live by the Gospel, to care more for the weak and the poor, to grow out of every form of selfishness, and to treat every human being as a brother or a sister?
You are asking these questions because you are really concerned. And you believe that what you hope for can be achieved. That is why you are the hope of the future for all of us, and why I love you so much.
And sometimes you are misunderstood. Sometimes you run into a wall of incomprehension. Yet do not be discouraged. There is a path to take. Have courage. The Lord is with you on your path.
3. And because you want to be with the Lord, you have come with all your joys and anxieties, your fears and hopes, to Jesus Christ. St Peter said: "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life" (Jn 6, 68). Yes, Jesus Christ has words of eternal life for you, for all the young people of Korea, for the young people of the whole world.
This evening Jesus speaks to you in the words of St Paul to his young disciple Timothy: "Fight the good fight of the faith: take hold of the eternal life to which you were called" (1 Tim 6, 12). Most of you have already accepted Jesus in Baptism, and you have been strengthened for the "Good fight of the faith" in the Sacrament of Confirmation. But what is this "faith"?
It is faith in "Christ Jesus who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession" (1 Tim 6, 13). You remember the scene from St John’s Gospel. Pilate wants to understand the charges brought against Jesus. He wants to know who Jesus is. And Jesus plainly confesses who he is: "For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Every one who is of the truth hears my voice" (Jn 18, 37).
But what is the truth to which he bore witness? It is that God loves us, that he is Love itself; that whoever sees Jesus sees the Father (cf Jn 14, 9). The truth is that God, the Father of Jesus, is also our Father: "The blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see" (1 Tim 6, 15-16). This God, whom mankind and each one of us has sought in his or her own way, is made known to us and to the world by Jesus. Jesus confirmed the confession of his truth by giving his life for us on the Cross and by rising from the dead.
4. By accepting this truth, and by accepting your own share in Christ’s paschal Sacrifice, you do what St Paul encouraged Timothy to do: "Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called . . ." (1 Tim 6, 12). It is not easy. First of all you will have to struggle against disbelief: your own at times: and the disbelief of those who, like Pontius Pilate, are not interested or have given up hope of ever finding the true meaning of their lives. Like Pilate they ask without hope, "What is truth?", and walk away without the answer.
Then you must fight against the temptation to water down the requirements of the Gospel, the temptation to falsify Jesus’ message by weakening the personal and collective moral demands that he makes on those who follow him. To fight against this temptation is to "fight the good fight of the faith".
5. It is now up to you to ask yourselves how in practice you too are to "make the good confession" in your turn, here and now, "in the presence of God who gives life to all things, and of Jesus Christ" (1 Tim 6, 13), and in the presence of our contemporaries. In other words, where do "God and I and People" come in? What path am I going to follow?
In the reading we have listened to from the First Letter to Timothy, there are described two programmes of life, two possible attitudes in life. One of these is wrong and is to be rejected; the other one is the right path to a "life which is life indeed" (1 Tim 6, 19).
First there is the attitude of the "rich in this world" who are "haughty", who place all their trust in wealth and all that goes with it: privilege, power, influence. Then there is the attitude of those who place their trust in God, those who do good, those who are "rich in good deeds". It is not so much a question of having or not having wealth: what counts is the attitude of the heart and the good works that spring from it. Even the young and the materially poor can be "rich" in heart and "haughty" in spirit if they limit the horizons of their hopes and dreams to the selfish pursuit of power and material well-being.
The temptation is great indeed, as you well know, to follow this path. You experience it especially when you feel, "realistically", as you say, that in the end it is futile to struggle to be good and unselfish in a world so full of injustice, so cold and harsh, where there seems to be no room for the "meek" and the "poor of spirit" whom Jesus spoke about in the Beatitudes. But to struggle against this defeatism is to "fight the good fight of the faith".
And seeing your open young faces here this evening, I know that you want to live rightly. I am convinced that you will choose the path that Jesus teaches and that you will not give up. And as you struggle to create a better world you will guard against temptations to inconsistency in your own lives - the temptation to combat injustice with injustice, violence with violence or any other kind of evil with evil. Your weapons are of a different kind. They are truth, justice, peace and faith, and they are invincible. The power that you wield in the "good fight of the faith" is "the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (cf Eph 6, 10-17). Only the word of God points out the path to victory, and it passes through reconciliation and love.
6. It is important for you to realize that you do not stand alone. The whole Church stands with you in choosing to follow this path of our Lord and Redeemer Jesus Christ. You are the younger generation of the Church in Korea which is now giving thanks to the Blessed Trinity for the 200 years of its mission in your homeland.
It is now your turn to embrace this heritage in its fullness and to pass it on to those to come. For this reason it is important for you to feel at home in the Church, to take your place in the Church, especially by becoming more and more involved in the life of your parish communities and in the works of the apostolate: "Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven" (Mt 5, 16).
Let the world know that you have chosen the path of truth, of goodness and compassion, of honesty and love, of pardon and reconciliation where it is necessary, and of openness to all. Yes, the path of generosity, personal discipline and prayer. And when someone asks why you live this way, you will answer: "Because of my faith in Jesus Christ."
7. You will need strength, but God will give you his grace. Grace is indeed the power of God that lights the path of your life towards "the life which is life indeed" (Mt 5, 19). Dear young people: it is in union with Christ through prayer - with Christ your brother and your Saviour, Christ the Son of the eternal Father - that you will understand the full meaning of life and receive the grace to live it to the full, to be alive in Christ! "Grace be with you!" (Mt 5, 21). And in this beautiful month of May, the month of youth and the month of our Blessed Mother Mary, may she who is "full of grace" love you and keep you in her Son our Lord Jesus Christ, for ever and ever!"
John Paul II's Homily at Holy Mass at the Major Seminary of Seoul
on Thursday, 3rd May 1984 - in English & Italian
"Praised be Jesus Christ!
1. In his first Letter to the Corinthians, Saint Paul bears witness to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He says: "Christ died for our sins . . . he was buried . . . he was raised on the third day". The basis of his testimony is the fact that the Risen Lord appeared to the Apostles and disciples and finally to Paul himself (1 Cor 15, 3-4). It is this central mystery of the faith, the Paschal Mystery, the mystery of the death and resurrection of Christ, which that great Apostle and missionary proclaimed to the Christians in Corinth and to everyone he met.
Like St Paul, I have come to Korea today to bear witness to the resurrection of Christ. I have come to speak to all who have received the Gospel and who hold fast to it, to all who firmly believe that the Gospel is the way to salvation. I have also come to proclaim the crucified and risen Jesus to all who freely choose to listen to my voice. But you, dear seminarians, you, together with your Bishops and superiors, are the very first ones in Korea with whom I share the Church’s Alleluia of Easter joy, proclaiming the Lord’s victory over sin and death. You are the first ones with whom I share the joy of the Paschal Mystery by celebrating the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. And so it should be, for you are in a very real sense the future and hope of the Church in this beloved land.
2. Already in the 1820s, efforts were begun by lay people to foster vocations to the priesthood. Despite a raging persecution, your holy ancestors spontaneously formed the Angels’ Sodality, to foster, pray for and support vocations. And it was from such fervent communities of Christian life that the first Korean priests came: Father Andrew Kim Taegon, who is venerated in this chapel, and Father Thomas Choe Yang’up.
Even as seminarians, younger than most of you here present, those first priests of Korea showed a zeal for study and a hunger for wisdom, together with strong faith, willing obedience and persevering hope. In these ways, but above all by their readiness to die for Christ and the Gospel, they shine forth as great and lasting examples for all of you.
Ten years after Father Kim’s martyrdom, the first seminary in Korea was founded in Paeron in 1855. Then, after untold efforts and sacrifices at Puhunggol, Yongsan, Taegu, and Togwon in the North, the regional major seminaries of Seoul and Kwangju were eventually established. I am pleased that last year a seminary was begun at Taegu, and at Suwon another has been opened this year to commemorate my coming to Korea.
900 strong, dear brothers in Christ, you are a consolation and great promise for the Church. The Church looks to you with much expectation and hope, and she asks you to grow ever stronger in your faith in Christ by imitating the example of Father Kim and Father Choe and the many others who have given their lives in the service of the Gospel.
3. This time of preparation for the priesthood should help each of you to strengthen the conviction that Jesus Christ is "the way and the truth and the life" (Jn 14, 16). He is the way to the Father. Jesus himself lives for the Father in his total dedication to the Father’s will, by accomplishing the work of the redemption of the world. And he leads us to the Father as well.
In the seminary, while preparing for the priesthood, you must strive to penetrate the mystery of Christ. You must seek an ever deeper understanding of the union that Christ has with the Father precisely because he is the Son. In today’s Gospel he tells us: "I am in the Father and the Father is in me" (Jn 14, 10, 11). It is because of this union with the Father that he can say to Philip: "He who has seen me has seen the Father" (Jn 14, 9). Each of you, dear seminarians, must understand this mystery of Jesus Christ. You must grasp this mystery in such a way that it becomes for you interior truth, truth in your very heart. You must grasp the mystery in such a way that the mystery can take possession of your whole being.
By pondering the mystery of Christ, you come to understand the priesthood and develop a priestly attitude. Seek to put on the mind and heart of Jesus Christ. Remember that the crucified and risen Saviour wishes you one day to celebrate the Eucharist: the sacrament of his own sacrifice for the salvation of the world. This sacrifice has its eternal and unending beginning in the union of the Son with the Father, of which today’s Gospel speaks. The sacrifice of the Mass, which is the center of your priesthood, remains forever the sacrifice of the Son of God, who became man in order to lead us to the Father.
4. I wish to draw the attention of the Church in Korea to the importance of making intense efforts to foster vocations and to provide the best possible priestly formation in the seminaries. An abundance of vocations and an effective seminary training: these are proofs of the vitality of the Church. They are signs that the cross and resurrection of Christ, through the action of the Holy Spirit, are bringing forth precious fruits in the Church in Korea.
In your efforts to foster vocations, which God in his merciful providence is furnishing in abundance, let your first practice be frequent prayer for this intention. Pray with confidence to the Lord of the harvest, remembering the promise of Jesus which we have heard again today: "Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it" (Jn 14, 13).
Let me add a special word to those responsible for the formation of these young men. Dear brothers in Christ, never doubt how highly the Church esteems you and the work you do, so vitally important for the future. As I assure you of the support of my prayers, I also exhort you to convey not only knowledge of Christ and his Church but Christ himself. Christ must be communicated through the purity and power of the word of God. Inspire a deep love for the person of Jesus. May the example of your personal lives render him present. May your words and deeds be a sign of how deeply you believe that Jesus Christ is "the way and the truth and the life" (Jn 14, 6).
Dear brothers in Christ: the priesthood is born of God’s love. It means everything for the Church in Korea. Let us praise God for this great gift and for the young men who will transmit it to the future generations in this land through Christ our Lord. Amen."
Blessed John Paul II's Homily at Holy Mass with the conferral of the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation
at the Municipal Stadium Mudung of Kwangju on Friday, 4th May 1984 - in English & Italian
"Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
1. I am very pleased to be with you for this celebration of the Eucharist. The Church in Kwangju rejoices in welcoming into its midst 72≠ new members through their reception of the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation.
This moment is an important one, not only for those who are about to be baptized and confirmed but also for the Christian community as a whole. The words of our Lord Jesus Christ take on renewed meaning for all of you: "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (Mt 28, 19).
Moreover, this event has another deep meaning in that the Church in Korea has presented the occasion for the Bishop of Rome to preside at this Liturgy and to confer these sacraments. In this way there is expressed your communion with the Church of Rome and with the Catholic Church throughout the world. As universal Pastor of the Church, I express my deep appreciation to the bishops of Korea who have extended this invitation to me and to the many priests who have come to concelebrate with me. I join you all in praising God: He never ceases to call men and women of every age to hear the Gospel of salvation and to respond to it in faith by embracing Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour, by being baptized, and by living according to his will.
2. I wish to address my words to those who are about to be baptized and confirmed, and to reflect with them on the meaning of their encounter with Christ in these sacraments.
Our first reading today, taken from St Paul’s Letter to the Romans, sums up what you as catechumens are about to experience. Baptism is an immersion in Christ: you are buried with Christ into his death so that you may be freed from sin and walk in newness of life. Baptism means that the old self is crucified with Christ. Sin is destroyed; you are liberated from the slavery of sin.
This "death to sin" means a rebirth in the Holy Spirit. You are freed from original sin and from all the sins committed before Baptism. You become sharers in the resurrection, sharers in the new life of Christ. As St Paul says, you are "alive to God in Christ Jesus" (Rom 6, 11). You are made like Christ and become adopted children of God through his grace. You are heirs of the eternal life which Christ promised and which he won for us by his own death and resurrection. This is the spiritual rebirth that is brought about by the Sacrament of Baptism - the same rebirth in the Spirit that you catechumens will experience through the symbolic sacramental action of washing with water and the invocation of the Most Holy Trinity.
Make no mistake about it: this is a radical step you are about to take, and I know that you have thought deeply about it. It requires you to put aside the old ways of sin in order to live as "children of the light". It calls for joyful confidence in God’s mercy and love.
3. "Dying to sin" and "being alive to God in Christ Jesus" is a commitment for your whole life and it requires effort for the future. It means keeping yourselves free, by God’s grace, from hatred and rancor. It means pardoning those who may have sinned against you. It means being reconciled to one another and to God to forgiveness and love. But forgiveness is an act which is greater than our poor hearts: it belongs to God alone. I am keenly aware of the deep wounds that pain your hearts and souls from personal experiences and from recent tragedies, which are difficult to overcome from a merely human point of view, especially for those of you from Kwangju. Precisely for this reason the grace of reconciliation has been granted to you in Baptism: it is a gift of the mercy of God manifested in Jesus Christ, who suffered, died and rose again for us.
This part of Christ’s saving message is particularly relevant for those who are haunted by the memory of the unfortunate events of this place. But now you have been conformed to the image and likeness of Christ through Baptism, and each one of you is called to follow the example of Christ, the authentic peacemaker and perfect model for reconciliation. By accepting the consequences of our baptismal commitment, we become instruments of reconciliation and peace in the midst of dissension and hatred. In this way, as effective signs of Christ’s healing power working through us, we can ease the pain of injured hearts that are filled with anxiety and bitterness. At the same time we can offer hope to those who suffer from oppression, and thus become instruments of Christian liberation and signs of true freedom.
4. Jesus says in today’s Gospel: "If any one thirst, let him come to me and drink" (Jn 7, 37). My dear catechumens, believing in these words of our Lord, you have all come to him today to be baptized into new life.
Thirsting for him who is the fountain of true life, your admirable ancestors left all to seek him who is all. Even before they were baptized, from the very moment that they became believers in Jesus, they knowingly and willingly accepted the loss of fortune, fame, family and even life. In truth, they died to sin, enduring even death in this life, so as to live only unto God, their true Father. This deep filial piety, this firm sense of being children of the same Father in Christ, united your ancestors in love and gave them heroic fidelity. Your earliest catechisms and prayers are imbued with this spirit, as eloquently witnessed to by Paul Youn Chin’ung. Just before he was martyred he said: "Once I have come to know that the Lord of Heaven is my Father, I cannot even bear not to follow his commandments".
5. Furthermore, by believing in Christ you have been "made to drink of the one Spirit" (1 Cor 12, 13), as St Paul says in the second reading. This Spirit is the Spirit of Christ given at Pentecost, after his glorification. And it is this gift of the Holy Spirit, which is the sign of the Messianic age, that you will receive today in a special way in the Sacrament of Confirmation. Through the power of this Spirit you will be able to follow continually the path that leads you to Christ. Confirmation is the sacrament of spiritual strengthening, which complements the spiritual rebirth of your Baptism. In Confirmation you will deepen your friendship with God through an increase of divine grace. This sacramental grace will complete within you the effects of Baptism, enabling you to profess your faith courageously and to defend it, to accept Christ’s command to take up your cross daily and follow him. By a special sacramental character, Confirmation will conform you more closely to Christ - prophet, priest and king - and enable you to bear witness to him more faithfully within the Church and before the world. You will be forever sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit.
My dear friends, in the sacraments Christ shows himself to be the Good Shepherd who watches over and cares for the flock entrusted to him by his heavenly Father. He does this through the Church which administers Baptism and Confirmation "in the person of Christ". In this sacramental service the Church is built up in the unity of the Holy Spirit, who works in each person for the good of all.
6. You are 72 in number. You symbolize the 100,000 or more Koreans who by the grace of God are baptized each year into life with Christ and become his witnesses. As Jesus once sent out 72 of his disciples, two by two, to spread the Good News of salvation, so you too will be sent out today to be his heralds. The gift of Christ’s life is a gift to be shared with others in gratitude, so that all may have fullness of life.
As Korean Catholics you have been given a marvellous heritage to sustain, guide and inspire you in this mission. Your ancestors not only sought the faith in the midst of persecution; they also spread it to others under the harshest of conditions, often living as outcasts from society. Think of the tireless apostolate of a Paul Chong Hasang, and of the sheer fortitude of the young Peter Yu Taech’ol. Why would anyone have accepted a message fraught with such dire consequences? The answer is simple and clear: they believed in the Gospel message. By their faith and strong love for Christ they overcame all.
Now it is your turn. Be generous, be strong, be true. Above all, live for others as Jesus did: the Spirit of the risen Lord is upon you. As baptized and confirmed Christians you are called to share in the Eucharist, which is the source and center of all Christian life. In the Eucharist, Jesus himself will sustain you along the path of reconciliation and true justice, and lead you to the fullness of life in the Kingdom of his Father, where he lives and reigns with the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen."
Blessed John Paul II's Homily at Holy Mass with Priestly Ordinations
at Taegu on Saturday, 5th May 1984 - in English & Italian
"Beloved brothers and sisters in Christ,
Beloved young men who are receiving the priesthood in this impressive assembly of faith and fervent prayer,
1. Here, this morning, in Taegu, in the presence of your bishops, before so many guests, surrounded by so many priests, religious and laity of the People of God in this land - and by so many enthusiastic young people who love you dearly and give you the support of their prayers - you are receiving the gift of the priesthood. It is a gift to you and to the Church from Christ himself.
On this day dedicated to the theme of sharing, it is good for us to realize that it is God himself who first shares his gifts with us. "What have you" - asks Saint Paul in the reading we have just heard - "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor 4, 7). Indeed, it is through God’s gift that from now on you will be considered "servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God". I am sure that you have meditated deeply on these words and that they are engraved on your minds and on your hearts. They spell out for you your identity as priests of Jesus Christ.
2. In becoming priests, you receive a sacramental outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Christ is giving you a share in his priesthood: he joins you to himself in the work of redemption. It is certainly a privilege for you to be chosen, but a privilege that involves a service - service like that of Jesus who came to serve and not to be served (cf Mt 20, 28), like that of Mary, the humble handmaid of the Lord (cf Lk 1, 48). Christ has chosen you as servants and stewards. In what way are you to serve him? Here are his own words: "If any one serves me, he must follow me" (cf Jn 12, 26). As priests you are called to follow the divine Master in a particular way. You are called to a discipleship that reaches down into the deepest level of your person. You will receive a sacramental configuration to Christ that touches every sector of your life. We are talking, in fact, about the priest’s particular way of participating in the paschal mystery of our Saviour’s passion, death and resurrection. Let us listen once again to Christ’s words: "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit" (Jn 12, 24). The Church rightly insists that your ordination to the priesthood is a "dying to self", for it is precisely this giving of oneself that opens the way to fruitfulness: if the grain of wheat dies, it bears much fruit.
3. Are you sometimes afraid of the demands that Christ is making on you? You are certainly aware that your priestly service will often require from you the courage of self-sacrifice. It is then that you must look at Jesus’ reaction to these same fears, as described in today’s reading from the Gospel: "Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, for this purpose I have come to this hour" (Jn 12 27).
Your purpose as priests is to be one with Christ in the work of redemption: "Where I am, there shall my servant be also" (Jn 12, 26). May the example of your Korean priest martyrs speak to your hearts, revealing to you the true nature of your vocation, banishing any false expectation. May these men who shared to the full in Christ’s paschal mystery be your models of generous service and priestly sacrifice.
4. Where is Christ’s paschal mystery being actuated now? Above all, it is actuated in the great gift of the Eucharist of which you are being made stewards. Christ entrusts this supreme gift to you. In the celebration of the Eucharist, acting in the person of Christ and proclaiming his mystery, you re-enact and apply the unique sacrifice of the New Testament, the sacrifice in which Christ offered himself to the Father as a spotless victim for the forgiveness of sins (cf Lumen Gentium, 28).
Not only does he entrust this gift to your ministry, he also invites you to share ever more fully in it. In this way the Eucharist becomes the nourishment of your priestly life. Just as the life of Jesus receives its full meaning and is completed in the paschal mystery, so too it is in the Eucharist that the priest finds the full meaning of his life, the source of his strength, and the joy of his dedicated pastoral service to the People of God. At the table of the Word and of the Bread of Life you make Christ present for the building up of the ecclesial community.
5. It is especially from the Eucharist that you will draw the strength to follow Christ and to be where he is: "Where I am, there shall my servant be also". Jesus Christ is where the Gospel shows him to us: in poverty, humility and vulnerability at his birth; sharing the joys and sorrows of his people; close to the daily life of the men and women of his land; blessing the children; in conversation with the young; compassionate towards all. Above all we see him praying to his heavenly Father, seeking silence and solitude in order to reflect upon the Father’s will, and accepting that will in obedience unto death (cf Phil 2, 8). Christ was to be found wherever the Father willed him to be. And in our day too he is close to the poor, the sick, the outcasts, the downtrodden, the oppressed, the sinners. That is where Christ is. That is where the Church is. That is where you are called to be, as priests. All of these people are still waiting for the good news of the redemption, the hope of the beatitudes.
Christ has something to give to every man, woman and child whom he has redeemed. He opens the treasures of definitive truth and the treasures of the Father’s love to all those who hear him and accept him. But in order to live "for others", you too must live by this truth and this love. Do not be deceived by any other message, even if it is proclaimed in Christ’s name. You are called to be witnesses of the paradox that Christ proposes: "He who loves his life loses it, he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life" (Jn 12, 25). Yes, you are called to be bearers of the hope of eternal life, a hope that illumines and completes all temporal realities: "If any one serves me, the Father will honour him" (Jn 12, 26).
6. Dear brothers: "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor 4, 7). The priesthood is God’s great gift to you. It will take root in your hearts more fully, and produce more abundant fruits, the more you realize the gratuitousness of the gift. Like Mary, you too ought to rejoice in God your Saviour, who has looked down upon you in your lowliness (cf Lk 1, 47-48). A realization of the gap between the supernatural greatness of the gift and your own unworthiness will keep you from becoming proud: as the first reading reminded us, it will keep us from "boasting" as if it were not a gift (1 Cor 4, 7).
Above all, you will be moved to respond to Love with love: to give yourselves for the salvation of the world with total generosity and courage: to meet Gift with gift. This is the real challenge of your priesthood: "It is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy" (1 Cor 4, 2). That you may be trustworthy: this is my prayer for you; that must be your response to Christ and to the Church; this is the proof of your love for your brothers and sisters in this land who look to you for guidance and inspiring leadership.
7. The Pope has a special greeting too for the many young people present at this ordination. I am truly happy to see so many of you. You are full of life and hope, gathered together here to take part in the paschal mystery of the Lord in the Eucharist, and also to witness the wonderful event in which young men are being ordained to the priesthood. All of you must wonder in your hearts how it is that these young men, so much a part of your generation, come to be priests today. Each one of you too is confronted by the challenge of giving full meaning to your life, the one life you are given to live.
You are young and you want to live. But you must live fully and with a purpose. You must live for God, you must live for others. And no one can live this life for you. The future is yours, full of perils and possibilities, hope and anguish, suffering and happiness. But the future is above all a call and a challenge to "keep" your life by giving it up, by "losing" it - as the Gospel has reminded us - by sharing it through loving service of others. And the measure of your success will be the measure of your generosity. In a word, you must live in Christ Jesus, for the glory of the Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit. Amen."
Blessed Pope John Paul II's Message for Children's Day in South Korea
Municipal Stadium Mudung in Kwangju, Korea, on Friday, 4th May 1984 - in English & Italian
"Dear Children of Korea,
It is a joy for me to greet you today and to offer you a special message for Children’s Day.
What I want to speak to you about is love, the love for which you were made, the love that each one of you longs for.
1. One of the disciples of Jesus, called John the Evangelist, wrote a letter to the early Christians explaining that "love is of God" and that "God is love" (1 Jn 4, 7-8). The God who is love, and who has loved us so much, has in fact given us a share in his life, just as a father shares his life with his children. And God wants us to love him in return for the love and the life that he has given us. God is our Father and he asks us to love him as his children.
But God also wants us to love others. This is the meaning of our lives: to love God and to love others - to love our parents, our brothers and sisters, our relatives and friends, all our fellow human beings, even those who may have hurt us or offended us. To love our neighbour means living for others, lending a helping hand, giving service where needed, being just, honest and pure, gentle, truthful and kind. To love our neighbour means helping to build a better world.
We do this not so much by words as by what we do, because action speak louder than words. That is what Saint John meant when he wrote: "Little children, let us not love in word or speech but in deed and in truth" (1 Jn 3, 18).
2. Dear children of Korea: all the world’s children, all the people in the world deserve your love, regardless of their nationality, sex, religion or race; whether they are strong or weak, rich or poor, healthy or sick. To love is to think about other people, to accept others, to go out of your way to help them, to serve them, to encourage them. To share with others the world and its good things, the way that God has shared them with you. In loving others, you will discover the meaning of life; indeed you will discover the Giver of life. the Creator of the world, the God and Father of us all.
3. And if you are Christian, dear children, you have a special reason to love: in order to be like Jesus, who is God’s eternal Son, the Son who became man in order to give his life for us on the Cross, out of love, to help us to understand the meaning of love, to make us too able to love.
4. And today, I, John Paul II, as the representative of Jesus, as Bishop of Rome, offer my love to every boy and girl in Korea, to each and every one without any distinction. I proclaim your human dignity as children of God created to share in God’s love forever. I proclaim your rights, no matter how little or helpless you may be and I proclaim the duties that go with your rights, which you are called to perform out of love, in order to safeguard the rights of others. I especially love every child who suffers, who is lonely, who is abandoned, especially those with no one to love them and care for them. Dear children, I give you all the love of my heart.
I also want to encourage all those working to build a world of peace for you to live in, those who take care of your health, who teach you, who speak to you about God. I am spiritually close to your parents, who have transmitted to you God’s gift of life and are the first ones to teach you the meaning of love. Today I join my love to theirs, and together we join our love to the love of God, who has loved us and asks us to love in return.
Dear children of Korea, your future and the destiny of this land depend, under God, on your willingness to love. This is my message for today and for the years to come, my message of love: "Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God" (1 Jn 4, 7)."
Blessed John Paul II's Words to the Sick at Sorok Do Leprosy Hospital
Sorok Do Island, Korea on Friday, 4th May 1984 - in English & Italian
"My dear Friends,
1. In preparing for the long journey to Korea, I have looked forward with particular expectation to visiting you on this island of Sorok Do. And ever since I received a beautiful letter from you, I have wanted to come to you all the more: to be with you, to console you, to assure you of my love.
Many great religions, as you know, find the key to understanding man in his suffering, saying that living itself is suffering, or that human life is a sea of suffering. Even the Bible speaks of the sweat of the brow and of birth-pangs as the price for bread and for new life. This insight into the human condition is not passivity or despair. Rather it implies that we human beings have to be more than we now are; we are meant to be saved in order to become our true selves.
It is a joy for me to know that among yourselves, Protestants, Catholics and Buddhists, you all live together in genuine brotherhood. Perhaps this is so because you have tasted suffering so deeply. You who are Christians truly believe that Jesus bore our sufferings in his body, so that "through his wounds we are healed" (Is 53, 5). And it is about Jesus that I wish to speak to you today.
2. During his earthly life Jesus was particularly close to all who suffered. He loved the sick. And there were many lepers among the people of his time, and the Gospel today gives us an example. Let us re-read this Gospel passage with deep faith: "When he came down from the mountain, great crowds followed him; and behold, a leper came to him and knelt before him, saying, ‘Lord, if you will, you can make me clean’" (Mt 8, 1-2).
Jesus had just come down from the mountain where he had proclaimed a message that completely upset the way people usually think: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted . . . Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven" (Mt 5, 3-4. 11-12). What people normally call curses Jesus called beatitudes. This he did because by redeeming our suffering he gave it an immense value, that only the believing heart can know.
3. The Gospel of suffering is necessary especially for you who live in this place - you who have been struck by leprosy. It is necessary for you to know that Christ is particularly close to you. In this Gospel of suffering we find praise for those who have persevered in the midst of the trials of suffering. We read: "You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful" (Jac 5, 11). The reward for human suffering is found in Christ’s redemption, because as St Paul says, it is through our sufferings that we "complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the Church" (Col 1, 24).
To the unspeakable anguish of the question "Why me?" Jesus offers the living answer of his own death on the Cross, for he suffered entirely for others, giving himself in unending love. Since then, we too "always carry in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies" (2 Cor 4, 10). In this way we can understand how Christ’s suffering, death and resurrection - his redeeming act of love - is truly the source of the dignity of all suffering, as well as the pledge of the future glory that is to be revealed in us (cf Rom 8, 18).
4. In his letter to the early Christians, St James recommends that if anyone is sick among them the presbyters of the Church should come to them. My dear friends, I come to you today as a priest and bishop, the Bishop of Rome.
Like the presbyters of the early Church, it is my desire to pray over you, to sing for you the praises of the Lord, to anoint you with oil in the name of the Lord; and I beg God that the "prayer of faith" may be your salvation (cf Jac 5, 13-15).
May the Lord raise you up with his grace, so that your souls may be ready for the glory of eternal life, and that your bodies, weakened by illness, may find comfort and strength in this hope through which your souls live!
5. In conclusion, I would like to offer a word of special greeting to the staff and all those who assist the residents of this leprosy hospital. My friends, yours is a most noble, selfless service of humanity that few can bring themselves to render. And yet, I am sure that you are the ones who receive the most, even though you give so generously. For in the paradox of love it is the weak that sustain the strong and the sick that heal the healthy. May the Lord reward your kind hearts with joy, peace and an increase of love.
My particular thanks go also to the dedicated members of the Catholic Leprosy Workers’ Association, who for over 30 years have tirelessly served our afflicted brethren at Anyang, Ch’ilgok and elsewhere.
May all leprosy patients, may all the forgotten and neglected sick of this land and of the world, rejoice and be consoled in the knowledge of being especially loved by Jesus who suffered so that we might all share his risen life.
My beloved friends, I embrace you in the love of Jesus Christ, the Son of God and Saviour of the world!"
Pope John Paul II's Address to the Members of the Diplomatic Corps
accredited to the Government of the Republic of Korea, at the Apostolic Nunciature in Seoul, on Friday, 4th May 1984 - in English & Italian
"Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
a very significant moment in many of the journeys that I have made to different parts of the world, in fulfilment of my apostolic mission to the Catholic communities of the various nations, has been the meeting with the members of the Diplomatic Corps. Now, here in Seoul, it gives me great pleasure to meet you, members of the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Government of the Republic of Korea. I thank you for coming here this evening.
The reasons for my visit are well known to you. The Catholic Church in Korea is celebrating the 200th anniversary of its existence in this "Land of Morning Calm". It is a young Church already rich in experience and full of promise for the future. The people of Korea themselves give the impression of being young people - in spite of their long history - with a vitality that holds great promise for the future: a people filled with hopes and noble aspirations, with an immense yearning for peace and stability, and for the healing of grievous wounds that still cause profound suffering. The aspirations to peace, security and national unity, which are everywhere more and more felt today, are especially perceptible among the Korean people, and my visit is meant to indicate that these profoundly noble longings are shared by me and by the Church.
1. Members of the Diplomatic Corps, you are the official representatives of your respective countries. You serve your countries by promoting and protecting the interests of your peoples. But it is characteristic of your service that you should also be attentive observers and receptive participants in the cultural, social and psychological life of your host country. As diplomats you are called upon to have an enhanced sensitivity to the genuine national values of the country in which you carry out your mission. It is certainly true that the better you know and respect the authentic and original character of the Korean people, the better you will fulfill the important task of promoting mutual understanding and good will. It is certainly also true that understanding and good will, collaboration and co-responsibility are capable of setting in motion a more general search for peace between peoples on a world scale.
2. Peace! Much is said about it: yet genuine peace is ever more elusive. On the one hand, the instruments of war - tools of death and destruction - constantly increase. On the other hand, the available structures of dialogue, whether between the bigger nations and alliances or between the parties to limited and localized disputes, have shown themselves to be extremely fragile and vulnerable. Should we then cease to speak out about peace? Or should we not rather find words that will evoke a response of serious reflection on the part of all those who have responsibility for the decisions and policies that affect peace? Would it not be a crime to remain silent when what is needed is an effective appeal for a real "conversion of heart" on the part of individuals, governments and nations?
Conversion of heart, was the theme of my Message for the 17th World Day of Peace on January 1 of this year: "From a new heart, peace is born". As I pointed out then, I believe that a serious reflection on this theme "permits us to go to the very depths of the problem and is capable of calling into question the presuppositions that precisely constitute a threat to peace. Humanity’s helplessness to resolve the existing tensions reveals that the obstacles, and likewise the hopes, come from something deeper than the systems themselves" (Ioannis Pauli PP. II, Nuntius scripto datus ob diem I mensis Ianuarii anni MCMLXXXIV, paci inter nationes fovendae dicatum, 1, die 8 dec. 1983: Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, VI, 2 (1983) 1280).
This change or "conversion" of heart is not an exclusively Christian or even religious ideal. It is a very fundamental and original human experience, and it applies to nations as well as to individuals. To repeat what I stated in the World Day of Peace Message: "It is a matter of rediscovering clear-sightedness and impartiality with freedom of spirit, the sense of justice with respect for the rights of man, the sense of equity with global solidarity between the rich and the poor, mutual trust and fraternal love".
3. Peace is threatened wherever the human spirit is oppressed by poverty or constrained by socio-political or ideological dictates. In our world, peace is seriously threatened by the tensions arising out of ideological differences between East and West; and by the growing contrast between the developed countries of the North and the developing countries of the South.
Peace is threatened wherever the fundamental rights of man are ignored or trampled upon, especially the right of religious liberty. Peace is threatened where the integral well-being of the human person is not recognized, promoted and safeguarded; where human beings are not respected in their unique dignity and worth; where they are subordinated to preconceived interests and to the ambition of power in any of its forms; where the poor are exploited by the rich, the weak by the strong, the uneducated by the clever and unscrupulous. Peace is threatened where the human person is made the victim of scientific and technological processes, rather than the beneficiary of the marvellous capabilities for genuine progress and development which man wrests from the universe. Peace is threatened by events; but these events themselves mirror deeper causes connected with the attitude of the human heart.
4. There is a serious need for rethinking basic policies and priorities. At this time in history there is a great need for wisdom. There is less and less room for gambling with the well-being of the human family. The only option is sincere dialogue and mutual collaboration, for the construction of a more just order in the world. What this just order is, still remains, to some extent, to be discovered through a trust-filled exchange of ideas and values without preconceived bias; a dialogue that has as its object the common good of all and the inalienable rights of every human being.
5. My appeal to you, ladies and gentlemen of the Diplomatic Corps, is that you use every means at your disposal to promote such a dialogue. That a new way of thinking may be found, together with the courage to make a new beginning! The basic moral and psychological conditions underlying the present world situation need to be carefully and impartially re-examined.
As I have suggested, perhaps the greatest difficulty in achieving a constructive dialogue is the lack of mutual trust between individuals, groups, nations and alliances. There exists an atmosphere of suspicion that causes one side to doubt the good will of the other. This is a serious, objective obstacle to peace, one that follows from the real circumstances affecting the lives of nations. It has to be recognized that this atmosphere of fear, suspicion, distrust and uncertainty is extremely difficult to dispel. The feeling of insecurity is real, and sometimes justified. This leads, in turn, to ever higher levels of tension aggravated by the inevitable search, by every means and by all sides, to ensure military superiority - even to gain the upper-hand by acts of naked terrorism as in Rangoon - or predominance through economic and ideological control. The aspirations of hundreds of millions of human beings for a better life, the hopes of the young for a better world, will inevitably be frustrated unless there is a change of heart and a new beginning!
6. In a re-examination of the basic moral and psychological presuppositions that constitute a threat to peace, to development and to justice, a fundamental requisite is the achievement of a new climate of trust. "Peace must be born of mutual trust between nations rather than imposed on them through fear of one another’s weapons" (Gaudium et Spes, 82). The same need for a climate of trust holds true also within a given nation or people. In a special way it is incumbent upon the leaders of nations to promote a climate of sincere good will both within and without. And while they cannot ignore the complexity of international relations, they ought to feel themselves obliged to undertake the very grave task of peacemaking. To serve the cause of peace: this is a work of supreme love for mankind. "Today it most certainly demands that leaders extend their thoughts and their spirit beyond the confines of their own nation, that they put aside national selfishness and ambition to dominate other nations, and that they nourish a profound reverence for the whole of humanity" ((Ibid.).
Reverence for humanity: this is indeed the nucleus of the whole question. If the human person is revered and respected in his or her inviolable dignity and inalienable rights, then injustice and aggression will be seen for what they are: an arrogance that conceals within itself a certain death-wish because it subverts the balance of the natural order of fundamental equity of rights and duties, giving rise to a situation of moral chaos in which sooner or later all become victims. The evangelical words, "Treat others the way you would have them treat you" (Mt 7, 12), are the expression of a basic requisite for human co-existence, which applies equally to relations between individuals and to relations between nations.
7. Today, here in Seoul, I take this opportunity to ask you, the members of the Diplomatic Corps - and I wish to extend this appeal to all men and women in positions of responsibility - to work for peace by working for a change of heart, by striving to view the world situation with a fresh outlook and with the will to overcome old prejudices and one-sided views.
As diplomats, you have special opportunities for upholding and strengthening good will between peoples and governments. In order to do so you must be convinced that peace is possible; that peace is better than war; that human beings deserve to be saved from the present logic of fear and lack of trust. In this hour the world needs you as peacemakers; it needs men and women with a sense of destiny, dedicated to the task of saving our civilization from the various threats that endanger its very existence.
8. In your diplomatic service in Korea you can see how contrasting ideologies and the passions they unleash give rise to intense suffering. The anguish and pain of a divided Korea are emblematic of a divided world that lacks trust and fails to achieve reconciliation in brotherly love. They are a symbol of a world situation that cries out for a response: a new attitude, a new heart. Your mission here, therefore, assumes a particular meaning and weight. I pray that your experience will convince you that only a committed affirmation of fundamental human rights and values, together with an effective respect for the dignity of every human person, will bring an abiding answer to the heartfelt aspirations of all the peoples of the world to live in peace and brotherhood.
May Almighty God watch over you and give you wisdom and strength to work for the cause of justice and fraternal harmony among all individuals and peoples. May God make you instruments of his peace."
Blessed John Paul II's Words to the Workers of Pusan
at Suyang Military Airport of Pusan on Saturday, 5th May 1984 - in English & Italian
"Brothers and Sisters,
You occupy a special place in the heart of the Church. What was Jesus himself but a worker? When he first began to teach, people were amazed, saying: "Where did this man get all this? What is the wisdom given to him? . . . Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary?" (Mk 6, 2-3).
1. The Son of God became man and worked with human hands. Work, then, has a dignity of its own in God’s plan for creation. We hear in the very first page of the Book of Genesis that man was created "in the image of God . . . male and female". Entrusting the whole universe to him, God told him to "be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it" (Gen 1, 27-28). So we know, not only by reason alone but through Revelation, that by his work man shares in the Creator’s work. He continues it and, in a sense, perfects it by his own work, by his toil, by his daily effort to wrest a livelihood from the earth, or from the sea, or to apply his energies to the many different processes of production. How noble is this mission that only man - by his work - can realize!
Indeed, we Christians are convinced that the achievements of the human race - in art, science, culture and technology - are a sign of God’s greatness and the flowering of his own mysterious design.
2. Jesus himself gave particular emphasis to this truth: that through his work man shares in the activity of the Creator. For Jesus was himself a working man, a craftsman like Joseph of Nazareth. Jesus clearly belonged to the "working world". So did most of his disciples and listeners: ordinary fishermen, farmers and workers. So when he speaks about the Kingdom of God, Jesus constantly uses terms connected with human work: the work of the shepherd, the farmer, the doctor, the sower, the householder, the servant, the steward, the fisherman, the merchant, the labourer. And he compares the building up of God’s Kingdom to the mutual work of harvesters and fishermen.
From Jesus’ own teaching we can clearly see that man who works is much more important than the product of his work. Human work comes from man; it is intended to benefit man, to promote his God-given dignity. Even the biggest city, the most complicated computer, the greatest nation, is only something made by man and is meant to serve man, to benefit man. Never the other way around. That is why the Second Vatican Council, speaking of the value of human work, declares: "A person is more precious for what he is than for what he has. Similarly, all that people do to obtain greater justice, wider brotherhood, and a more humane ordering of social relationships has greater worth than technical advances. For these advances can supply the material for human progress, but of themselves alone they can never actually bring it about" (Gaudium et Spes, 35).
3. Nevertheless, this order of values is not always respected, Today’s society, so taken up with developing a one-sided materialistic civilization, often treats work as a special kind of merchandise. Man is often treated as a mere instrument of production, like a material tool that should cost as little as possible while producing the maximum. In these cases the worker is not respected as a true collaborator with the Creator.
Unfortunately, the whole issue of work has often been looked at from the viewpoint of conflict between "capital" and "labour": a conflict that has vast social, ideological and political implications. This conflict has been a great tragedy for humanity and a source of suffering for untold millions of individual human beings and families (cf JPII, Laborem Exercens, 11).
I well realize that the relationship between employers and employees in the context of your Korean cultural and social traditions has its own special characteristics, and that it is not true that the way to better relationships is to be found in a simplistic application of standards and methods devised elsewhere. Still less by imposing alien ideological systems which have allowed flagrant injustices to persist, or have created new ones, threatening the very peace of the world.
Justice requires that ways be found to give workers a greater share in the organizational aspects of production and in profits, and I am pleased to know that initiatives have been taken in this direction. Justice also requires that the workers themselves benefit from the success of the enterprise in which they work, and that they have the satisfaction of knowing that through diligent and conscientious work they are thereby contributing to the social development of their country.
4. Of course, we know that work is not all fulfillment and satisfaction. Yes, work involves toil and struggle and you have all experienced this. Work has been profoundly affected by sin, as we read in the Book of Genesis: "In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread . . .". That is why we can never fathom the full meaning of work without looking to the paschal mystery of Jesus Christ in which he conquered sin and transformed all work. His work, his suffering, his obedience unto death receive their full meaning in his resurrection: this is the "gospel of work" contained in the life and teaching of our Redeemer.
And so we Christians find in human work a small share in the Cross of Jesus Christ. We must learn to live this human experience with Christ’s attitude. By uniting our work with the mission of our Saviour, we help bring about the new earth where justice dwells, and we contribute mightily to the coming of the Kingdom of God.
Dear workers, farmers and fishermen, I realize that, in solidarity with your millions of fellow workers, you have had to suffer much and are continuing to suffer for the birth of this "new earth" in your land. Often in the face of indifference, misunderstanding, and even harassment, you have, as Christians consciously committed to promoting the rights and welfare of fellow workers and farmers, patiently and bravely borne the cross. Al of us must work together in fraternal love to show that a more just sharing of the world’s goods means access to these goods especially through a just wage.
Take heart from the words of the Gospel! The Beatitudes and the woes you have just heard are the very words of the Lord appealing on behalf of the poor and oppressed against every form of injustice and social and personal selfishness. Take courage, "for the Kingdom of God is yours!" And as you rightly demand justice for your cause and for your lives, make sure that your own "works of faith" always promote justice for your neighbour.
5. Beloved brothers and sisters of Korea, my friends: you do indeed have a special place in the heart of Jesus and of his Church. I know that the proportion of Christians among industrial workers, farmers and fishermen is small: herein lies a great challenge for the shepherds of the Church in Korea and for yourselves. Be certain that the life and teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ, the carpenter of Nazareth, can supply answers to the doubts and questions of working men and women. Only Jesus Christ can sustain your hopes and dispel your anxieties. He alone can show you the meaning of your daily toil. In his name and together with his Church continue, through peaceful and upright means, to pursue human dignity, promote human rights and create a better world for yourselves, your children and your children’s children.
May Jesus bless your work! May he bless your families and friends, and give you his peace in overflowing measure! And through his grace may all your activities be linked to prayer, so that you may bring forth abundant "works of faith" leading to justification and eternal life."
JPII's Words to Korean Intellectuals and Artists
at Sogang Catholic University Auditorium on Saturday, 5th May 1984 - in English & Italian
"Ladies and Gentlemen, dear friends,
It is with great pleasure that I come to meet you this evening. As prominent educators, scientists, artists, writers and lawyers, you are in the forefront of man’s worthy efforts to understand and fulfill himself in an ever broadening horizon of new knowledge, new form, and new vision. You have the noble and difficult mission both of handing on the best of man’s achievements and also of pioneering new frontiers of culture. Be assured that the Church highly esteems your vocation and mission.
1. We are all aware that man can only be truly man through his culture, through his freedom to grow integrally and with all his specific capabilities. And man who rightly seeks such growth is also endowed with supreme dignity and freedom, as befits a being created in the image of God and redeemed by Christ.
That is why as Christians you are called to an even higher mission to evangelize human culture itself. And I am truly heartened to learn that there are so many Catholic lay men and women in every field of cultural endeavour in Korea. Yours is indeed a difficult task but a splendid one. This is your apostolate.
The Second Vatican Council gave new impetus to the dialogue between faith and culture. For it had become evident that a dramatic distance threatened to develop between the Church and the various cultural movements developing around the world. While the modern world was fascinated with its own conquests and achievements in science and technology, it has at times lost its bearings and given credence to ideologies and ethical criteria out of harmony with the Gospel.
That is why the Council wished to commit the whole Church to listening to modern man in order to understand him, and to looking for a new form of dialogue that would enable the originality of the Gospel message to penetrate contemporary minds and hearts.
Acutely aware of the vital importance of this task, I for my part have long been keenly interested in the dialogue between the Church and the world of culture. Early last year I instituted a Pontifical Council for Culture, eliciting the collaboration of eminent men and women in all pertinent fields. I am firmly convinced that this dialogue between the Church and culture is of great importance for the future of mankind.
2. There are two main and complementary aspects of the question that correspond to the two dimensions in which the Church acts. One is the dimension of the evangelization of cultures and the other is that of the defence of man and his cultural advancement.
The Church must become all things to all peoples. There is a long and important process of inculturation ahead of us in order that the Gospel may penetrate the very soul of living cultures. By promoting this process, the Church responds to peoples’ deep aspirations and helps them come to the sphere of faith itself. This the first Christians of Korea, your ancestors, saw very clearly. Having come to know Christ through an earnest quest for the fullness of humanity, they then made exemplary efforts to incarnate the Gospel into the thought patterns and affective climate of the people.
Following the example of his willingness to adopt an attitude of exchange and of understanding with the cultural identity of the people, we must now also work to bring various cultures themselves closer together. And this we must do in order that single cultures may then more fully enrich others, and so that universal values may become the heritage of all. In this regard your role as bridgebuilders between cultures is of vital importance. But your contribution will be the more valid the deeper you are rooted in your own identity as Koreans, and the more you are also conscious of bringing the saving word of the Gospel into this dialogue. For we believe that the Gospel must penetrate, uplift and purify all cultures.
But, of course, the enrichment works the other way too. The age-old experience of so many peoples, the progress of science and technology, the evolution of social institutions, the unfolding of the arts: these are all ways in which the nature of man becomes more fully revealed. They open up new avenues towards truth and deepen for us the understanding of God’s mysteries. Advances in the cosmic sciences, life sciences, communications, medicine, mass-education, psychology, means of production, electronic data processing - all this can help bring about a deeper appreciation of man. Indeed, these splendid achievements of the human race are a sign of God’s greatness and the flowering of his own mysterious design. Through them a door is opened on God’s creation, and on the meaning of his gift of redemption. In this context we can see so clearly how dangerous is any dichotomy between the Gospel and authentic cultures. We all do well to recall those important words of Paul VI: "The split between the Gospel and culture is without a doubt the drama of our time, just as it was of other times" (Pauli VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi, 20).
3. We should justly welcome and admire the God-given power and beauty of man at work. Yet precisely because the power that he wields is so very great, man is also in great need of a lucid sense of discernment. This power produces wonders; it can also destroy the one who uses it unwisely.
That is why we can never, never forget that the Gospel impels us to love man in himself, for his own sake, as the living image of God himself. God’s mercy and love, revealed to us in his Son made man for us, impels us to proclaim that man merits respect, honour, and love for his own sake, and that he must be valued in his full dignity. No man may ever be made into a tool; contempt and abuse of one single man is contempt and abuse for the Creator himself.
Because he lacks authentic "wisdom" in the use of his capabilities, man is threatened in his biological existence by irreparable pollution, by genetic manipulation, by the suppression of unborn life. His moral being can be made the prey of nihilistic hedonism, indiscriminate consumerism, and the erosion of a sense of values. And in our day, on a scale hitherto unknown, unjust economic systems exploit whole populations, political and ideological policies victimize the very soul of entire peoples, with the result that they are forced into uniform apathy or an attitude of total distrust of others.
4. As Christians we cannot remain silent in the face of so many threats to man’s dignity, to peace, to genuine progress. Our faith obliges us to resist whatever prevents individuals, groups and entire peoples from being their true selves according to their deeper calling.
Our Christian faith obliges us above all to go beyond mere condemnation: it leads us to build, to love! I made a point of proclaiming before all the nations assembled at UNESCO what I wish now to repeat to you because of its relevance: "Man must be affirmed for himself, and not for any other motive or reason: solely for himself! What is more, man must be loved because he is man; love must be claimed for man by reason of the particular dignity he possesses. The body of the affirmations concerning man belongs to the very substance of Christ’s message and of the mission of the Church . . ." (JPII, Allocutio ad eos qui conventui consilii ab exsecutione internationalis organismi compendiariis litteris Unesco nuncupati affuere habita, 10, die 2.06.1980: Insegnamenti di GPII, III/1  1643).
Similarly, in concluding the Encyclical Redemptor Hominis, I wrote that "man is and always becomes the ‘way’ of the Church’s daily life" (n21). Yes, man is "the way of the Church", for without this loving respect for man and for his dignity, how could anyone proclaim the words of truth and life?
5. Yours, then, is a twofold mission: to evangelize culture and to defend man. The Gospel itself is a leaven of culture to the extent that it meets man in his ways of thinking, behaving, working, resting, that is, in his cultural dimension. On the other hand, your faith will give you confidence in man, created in God’s image and redeemed by Christ, whom you will defend and love for his own sake. And because your faith includes a profound realization of man’s limitations and of his sinfulness, you will face the challenge of evangelizing culture with realism and the necessary compassion.
In a word, you are called to help the Church become a creator of culture in her relation to the modern world. It is indeed a great mission, specifically entrusted to you as men and women of culture, by which you are to bear witness before the world to the Good News of the Gospel.
I am not unaware of the peculiar challenges in this regard facing you in today’s Korea. As you educate the young, pursue and transmit scientific knowledge, create works of art that express the soul of the times, write words of man about man, seek relations among people - you are being offered both a responsibility and an opportunity: indeed, you have a very great vocation and calling. And this at a moment in your history when the heritage of the past is being questioned and even unjustly repudiated, when unassimilated new currents are creating confusion, when differences between the generations are becoming acute, when the social and political climate sometimes impedes a clear ethical view of realities, when private interests and personal well-being become a paramount imperative, and when accepted norms and values sometimes seem to be empty forms.
But the more arduous the task, the more urgent and worthwhile it is to take up this challenge, so that all may live in the risen Lord. And yes, yours is a resilient people, full of vitality, optimism, creativeness, character and heart - a people that has always shown a deep religious character and profound humanity. I am confident that you will continue to be a people of high culture, open to God and open to all of mankind! At the summit of all your wisdom is the great revelation of God: "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us".
And may Jesus Christ, this Word made flesh, guide you in your work! May the Blessed Mother who bore the Word, the Wisdom of God, be close to you today and always."
Blessed Pope John Paul II's Address to the Bishops of Korea
in Seoul, on Thursday, 3rd May 1984 - in English & Italian
"Dear Brothers in the Episcopate,
1. We are here together to perform an act proper to the Episcopate, to offer to God the Church in Korea. We do so through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, "the chief Shepherd" (1 Pet 5, 4) of the Church and the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls (cf Pet 2, 25). We do so in order to give full meaning to the bicentenary celebration, to proclaim publicly that the Church belongs to Christ - the Church that he founded on Peter and called his own: "You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church" (Mat 16, 18). But the Church, dear brothers, is likewise "built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure is joined together and grow into a holy temple in the Lord" (Eph 2, 20-21).
This is a special hour in the history of the Church in Korea. It is an hour for the bishops as successors of the Apostles to live their apostolic identity in the Church: to proclaim anew the nature of the Church, to assert her priorities, to manifest and exemplify her holiness. The celebration of your bicentenary is centered on the exaltation of your holy ones, your martyrs, your saints. By God’s providence three of your predecessors, three of the Bishops of Korea, are inscribed among the 103 Martyrs who will be canonized next Sunday. The example of pastoral love and holiness of life given by Bishop Imbert, Bishop Berneux and Bishop Daveluy has special meaning for your own lives today. It is also an encouragement and a solemn challenge to every Korean bishop who will ever live, to every man whom God will ever call to shepherd his people as a bishop in this land. Venerable and dear brothers in our Lord Jesus Christ: before the witness of your martyrs and all your holy ancestors this is the hour when the Lord Jesus calls you to ever greater holiness of life.
2. It was in holiness of life that your predecessors, together with their priests, religious and laity, consolidated the life of the Church in this peninsula, a Church which yearned for pastoral care, and which the pioneering laity had already generously built up in faith and love. I wish today to pay a debt of gratitude to the Bishops of Korea, past and present, for the holiness that you have exemplified, for the holiness which has given birth to zeal, and for the many works of God which zeal has produced. In doing so, I express gratitude, together with you, to the Lord Jesus who reminds us of the principle of all fruitful apostolic activity: "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing" (Jn 15, 5).
In this hour of thanksgiving I am thinking of the sacrifices which zeal has made possible, of the vast amount of service which has been rendered in the name of Christ, of the love which has motivated so many, not only to die for the faith, but to live and work and suffer so that the revelation of God’s word might become the wisdom of your people, and so that the Incarnate Word, Christ himself, might become ever more a light to this land. On behalf of the universal Church I express gratitude through you, the bishops, to the whole Church in Korea for the achievements of two centuries of holiness, culminating in the zeal with which you are celebrating your bicentenary.
3. With profound admiration I acknowledge the present vitality of your parishes and various movements, the excellent school and hospital services, the many fine parish buildings and other structures coupled, above all, with the spiritual fervour, community spirit and missionary zeal of your people. I note with joy your wise bicentenary plan, and I willingly bless all your systematic and sustained efforts on behalf of the family, the program of evangelization of neighbour, the building up of the parish and the community, the consolidation of the diocese and finally the ecclesial solidarity on the national and universal level. Yes, in union with the universal Church, you are making a splendid contribution to the growth of the Body of Christ in Korea and throughout the world. And in God’s providence, thanks to the mystery of the Communion of Saints, the spiritual dynamism produced by conversion and holiness of life has effects beyond geographical limits and external obstacles. Saint Paul points out to us - and it is forever true: "There is no chaining the word of God" (2 Tim. 2, 9).
4. As for the future, brothers, the holiness of the Church must continue to be the priority of your lives and the inspiration of all your activities. All the structures of the Church, all the services she renders - which are themselves bound up with the fruitful witness and generosity of your martyrs - are linked to holiness of life and to that zeal which only holiness can make possible and sustain over a long period of time. The effectiveness of your pastoral leadership depends on the measure of your holiness - your union with the Christ who repeats to you today: "If you abide in me and my words abide in you... it shall be done for you" (Jn 15, 7).
Your bicentenary brings with it a call to action for the sake of the Gospel. But in the life of the Church every call to action is a call to holiness, to union with God and consequently a call to prayer, which is the very expression of union with God. Your bicentenary is a call to prayer throughout Korea. In prayer you will strengthen faith, the faith that you the bishops are called to proclaim as Doctores Fidei, the faith that leads to justification and to eternal life. Your leadership as pastors of a flock gathered around the one Shepherd, Jesus Christ, will never be more prophetic than in the reassuring, encouraging and contagious example of your holiness of life. There is no greater personal contribution that you can make than to heed the words of Peter and present yourselves as "examples to the flock" (1 Pet 5, 3). To be examples to the flock means to be holy bishops, bishops living in union with Christ, bishops of prayer. The whole future of your ministry and of the apostolate in Korea, the very growth of the Church, must be placed under the sign of holiness. Through union with God and in prayer you will be able to follow the words of St Paul: "Draw your strength from the Lord and his mighty power" (Eph 6, 10).
5. In union with Christ you will ponder again what God’s word demands of the Church in Korea. With the courage that comes only with holiness you will accept the full authentic exigencies of the Second Vatican Council for your dioceses. In prayer you will review the perennial teachings of the faith and the ever relevant newness of the Church’s immutable dogmas. In vital communion with Christ, the life-giving vine, and in union with the universal Church, you will continue to preach the word of faith which depends on hearing and which enables the People of God to confess with their lips that Jesus is Lord, to believe in their hearts that God raised him from the dead, and to be saved (cf Rom 10, 9)). This faith - which is nourished in your own hearts and proclaimed with the special episcopal charism that is yours - is the source of all the insights of the faithful, who are called to believe and, in the power of the Holy Spirit, to ponder that belief and live it.
Reflection in prayer on the nature of the Church as proclaimed by the First and Second Vatican Councils, and the desire to do everything in accordance with the will of Christ for his Church, will confirm you in your commitment to collegiality and to real teamwork, especially in such major issues as inculturation, reconciliation and sharing, which are requirements of evangelization and catechesis. In union with Christ, in holiness of life, you will be able ever more effectively to promote justice for the life of the Church and for the society that the Church wishes to serve as a leaven.
6. In this hour of celebration, which is one of renewal and hope, remember the one stipulation made to Paul himself by the other Apostles: "That we should be mindful of the poor" (Gal 2, 10). For you this means being a living image of Jesus in his own poverty and servant-hood. In this way you will go out to meet his poor, identify with them, and assist and evangelize them. You are called to show them compassion, to support their efforts to live decent lives, and to walk hand in hand with them down the long road of integral human development and evangelization. Love will make this possible and zeal will dictate the way. In prayer you will perceive that you must be one with the Christ who fulfills the Scriptures: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach Good News to the poor" (Lk 4, 18). Brethren, you too are anointed and sent to the poor, wherever they may be found. And in serving them, you must give them, together with your very life, the Gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
In all your efforts, dear brothers, to live your vocation of pastoral leadership in union with Christ, I am close to you with my prayers and fraternal love. And may the prayers of Mary the Mother of Jesus and the intercession of the martyrs of Korea support you in your bicentenary hope to be a light to this land!"
Blessed John Paul II's Address to Priests and Religious
in Seoul on Saturday, 5th May 1984 - in English & Italian
"Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
1. "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Mt 5, 10). The truth of these words of our Saviour, the truth of the beatitudes, is manifested in the heroic witness of the Korean martyrs. For these holy men, women and children who suffered cruel persecution and death are blessed indeed. They are a sign of the power of God transforming the timid and weak into brave witnesses to Christ. Because they submitted to death for the sake of the Gospel, they have received a great reward in heaven and are honoured by the Church throughout the world. In the presence of the Redeemer, they rejoice and are glad, for they were "counted worthy to suffer for the sake of the Name of Jesus" (cf Act 5, 41).
The truth of the beatitudes is also manifested in the priesthood and religious life, for these are a particular incarnation of the beatitudes. As priests and religious you bear witness to what it means to be blessed by God. In your celibacy or consecrated chastity, embraced out of love for Christ, you show your trust in his words: "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God" (Mt 5, 8). By your evangelical poverty lived in generous service to others, you proclaim again the first beatitude: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Mt 5, 3). And in so many different ways, individually and in union with others, you seek to incarnate the beatitudes, to live a life which gives convincing proof that the beatitudes are indeed true, that they are the sure path to holiness.
2. I wish for a moment to direct my words to my brother priests. One of the greatest joys of coming to Korea is that I am able, here in your land, to canonize your martyrs. Among them are priests, including your first Korean priest, Father Andrew Kim Taegon. The historic event of the canonization draws attention to the illustrious Christian heritage that is yours. At the same time, it stirs up in your own hearts a greater zeal for holiness, a desire to imitate the martyrs in your own specific way.
Remember, dearest brothers, that priestly holiness means being like Christ: it means doing the Father’s will; it means faithfully exercising your pastoral ministry. You are called to "live by faith in the Son of God" (Gal 2, 20) and to love the word of God. Each day you nourish your mind and heart at the table of the word so richly provided by the Church in the celebration of the Eucharist and the Liturgy of the Hours. This word of God moves you to praise God’s name with joyful hearts and to obey his commands and counsels. It spurs you on to an ever more generous service of your people, in proclaiming the Gospel of salvation and leading the faithful in prayer.
As you seek to give a shepherd’s care to the portion of God’s flock entrusted to you, you must have a special love for the poor and the outcasts, for those who are forgotten, for those who are sick or burdened by their own sins. You are called to give a generous part of your time to celebrating the Sacrament of Penance, and to instructing your people in its value and importance for their Christian lives. Never doubt the effectiveness of the ministry of Confession. Through you the Lord Jesus himself reconciles hearts to himself and pours out his mercy and love. And you too are called to experience Christ’s mercy and love and to bear witness to your faith by your personal use of this great Sacrament.
It is above all to the Eucharist that all your pastoral activities are directed and from which God’s richest graces flow. The Second Vatican Council gives us the magnificent assurance that "in the mystery of the Eucharistic Sacrifice, in which priests fulfill their principal function, the work of our Redemption is continually carried out" (Presbyterorum Ordinis, 13).
3. And now, I wish to speak to the men and women religious of Korea, to you for whom God has a special love, and the Church a special esteem. Dear brothers and sisters, as religious you share in a particular way in the mission of Christ. By your personal and liturgical prayer and by the specific charisms of your Institutes, you fulfill a unique and important role in the Church. Above all, it is given to you to bear witness to Jesus Christ who was always obedient to the Father and who became poor that we might become rich.
Some of you have been called to the contemplative form of religious life, in which, through prayer and penance as your specific role, you seek an ever more intimate communion with God in charity. In this way you exemplify the Church as the spotless Bride of Christ, and your very lives lived in union with Jesus take on the power of a continuous act of intercession for God’s people. Others of you are called to dedicate yourselves with no less zeal to the various works of the apostolate. In hospitals and in schools, in parishes and in specialized fields of service, you bear witness to Christ and, together with the laity and the clergy, collaborate in the one mission of the Church. Whatever type of religious life the Lord Jesus has called you to, by reason of your religious consecration you share in his passion, death and resurrection in a special way.
Jesus said: "Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit" (Jn 12, 24). Religious life, like martyrdom, is a special invitation from God to become this grain of wheat, to trust that dying in Christ brings forth abundant fruit and leads to eternal life. Together with all the baptized, but in a fuller way by reason of your religious consecration, you share in our Saviour’s Cross. As you strive to accept joyfully the daily trials of life and the difficulties inherent in human work and social relationships, be confident that the Cross when embraced out of love for Christ is always a tree of new life. The great charism of religious life is generous love - generous love of Christ and the members of his Body. It is expressed in service and consummated in sacrifice. You are willing to give in proportion as you love, and when love is perfect the sacrifice is complete.
4. I invite all of you to join me today in expressing gratitude to God and in praising him for the many vocations to the priesthood and religious life which have characterized the Church in Korea in recent years. Here is a sign of the vitality of your faith; it is likewise a sign of the power of Christ’s paschal mystery and the efficacy of his precious blood. Indeed, the Church in your land cannot even be imagined without your vital presence in parishes, schools, hospitals and other specialized fields of apostolic endeavour. And your service offers great hope for the future, not only for the Church in your land but for other countries as well which will receive missionaries from Korea. The universal Church counts on your missionary contribution.
I encourage you to pray for more vocations, and to try continually to foster them among the people whom you serve. Ask the Korean martyrs to intercede for this special intention, which is so important for the future of the Church. And may your lives which are an incarnation of the beatitudes be eloquent signs of the presence of Jesus Christ in the world.
5. In a word, dear priests and religious, millions of your brethren in Korea, including countless non-Christians, are speaking to you in those words that were addressed to the Apostle Philip in Jerusalem; "We wish to see Jesus" (Jn 12, 21). Yes, my brothers and sisters, you must show Jesus to your people; you must share Jesus with your people: the praying Jesus, the Jesus of the Beatitudes, the Jesus who, in you, wishes to be obedient and poor, meek, humble and merciful, pure, peaceful, patient and just. This is the Jesus whom you represent: the eternal Son of the Father who became incarnate in the womb of the Virgin Mary and who wishes to be visible in you. The Jesus of the paschal mystery who, in the power of his Spirit and through the cooperation of his Church, longs to lead all humanity to his Father.
This is the solemn challenge of your lives: show Jesus to the world; share Jesus with the world."
Pope JPII's Address to the Spiritual Leaders of non-Christian Religions
at the Chapel of the Nunciature of Seoul on Sunday, 6th May 1984 - in English & Italian
in preparing to come to Korea I looked forward with particular expectation to this meeting with you, spiritual leaders in this venerable land.
You are aware that the chief reason for my visit is the responsibility that has been entrusted to me of guiding and confirming the faith of the followers of Jesus Christ who are members of the Catholic Church. But I wanted also to express to you my high esteem of the millennia of precious cultural heritage and admirable traditions of which you are the guardians and living witnesses. Thank you for giving me this opportunity by your presence today.
1. The Catholic Church is endeavouring to engage in friendly dialogue with all the great religions that have guided mankind throughout history. This we shall continue to do, so that our mutual understanding and collaboration may increase, and so that the spiritual and moral values we uphold may continue to offer wisdom and inner strength to the men and women of our time.
In fact, religions today have a more than ever vital role to play in a society in rapid evolution such as Korea. In a sense, just as the individual must find his true self by transcending himself and strive to achieve harmony with the universe and with others, so too must a society, a culture, the community of human beings, seek to foster the spiritual values that are its soul. And this imperative is all the more urgent, the deeper the changes that affect life today.
2. In this regard, the world looks to Korea with particular interest. For the Korean people throughout history have sought, in the great ethical and religious visions of Buddhism and Confucianism, the path to the renewal of self and to the consolidation of the whole people in virtue and in nobility of purpose. The profound reverence for life and nature, the quest for truth and harmony, self-abnegation and compassion, the ceaseless striving to transcend - these are among the noble hallmarks of your spiritual tradition that have led, and will continue to lead, the nation and the people through turbulent times to the haven of peace.
Our diversity in religious and ethical beliefs calls upon all of us to foster genuine fraternal dialogue and to give special consideration to what human beings have in common and to what promotes fellowship among them (cf Nostra Aetate, 1). Such concerted effort will certainly create a climate of peace in which justice and compassion can flourish.
3. We Catholics have just celebrated the Jubilee Year of the Redemption. In that period of grace we have endeavoured to live the gift of reconciliation granted us in Christ and have made efforts to reconcile ourselves with God and with our fellow man. Would it not be a good thing indeed, if also between believers of different traditions and between religions themselves a similar meeting of minds and hearts could be realized by our common good will and our duty to serve the human family’s well-being?
When the Catholic Church proclaims Jesus Christ and enters into dialogue with believers of other religions, she does so in order to bear witness to his love for all people of all times - a love that was manifested on the Cross for the reconciliation and salvation of the world. It is in this spirit that the Church seeks to promote deeper fellowship with all peoples and religions.
4. May I address a particular greeting to the members of the Buddhist tradition as they prepare to celebrate the festivity of the Coming of the Lord Buddha? May your rejoicing be complete and your joy fulfilled.
I renew to you my sincere sentiments of esteem and good will. May we all be enlightened for the wise accomplishment of the grave responsibilities that are ours. Thank you."
Pope JPII's Address to Representatives of other Christian confessions
at the Chapel of the Nunciature of Seoul on Sunday, 6th May 1984 - in English & Italian
"Dear Friends, dear fellow Christians,
what more fitting way is there for us to begin this encounter in the Lord than to listen with prayerful hearts to the appeal of the Apostle Paul to the Christians of Ephesus? It is still so apt for us today:
"I plead with you, then, as a prisoner for the Lord, to live a life worthy of the calling you have received, with perfect humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another lovingly. Make every effort to preserve the unity which has the Spirit as its origin and peace as its binding force. There is but one body and one Spirit, just as there is but one hope given all of you by your call. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all, and works through all, and is in all" (Eph 1-6).
1. Yes, "one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all". It is in this one Lord Jesus Christ that I have the joy of greeting you today. And our joy is truly mutual, since in this same year of 1984 many of you, especially Presbyterians and Methodists, are celebrating the centenary of the founding of your ecclesial communities in Korea.
How wonderful it is that in this land your predecessors in the faith should also have come to know the Lord Jesus Christ through the written word, through a Korean version of the Bible zealously spread by the laity before the first missionaries ever came to instruct and baptize in his name!
The contribution to the Korean people of your first missionaries, Dr Allen, Dr Underwood and Dr Appenzeller, and their successors, constitutes an important part of the history of this land.
Pioneering work in modern medicine and education, the advancement of women, the inculcation of democratic ideals, identification with the destiny of the people – all these bear witness to the virtues of your proud past. But again, this would not have been possible without the eager reception given to the Christian faith by the Korean people themselves. Nor have your communities been spared persecution, particularly in the North, but they have been found faithful in the eyes of the Lord.
2. And today, after turbulent times for all the Christian communities, it is indeed heartening to know that an ecumenical version of the Bible in Korean is now widely accepted, wherein "one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all" are proclaimed. Again, the fact that people from different ecclesial communities have worked together, among many other things, to publish an important work of theology is surely an encouraging sign of growing collaboration between Christians. Beautiful too is the growing friendship and close collaboration between the Universities of Yonse, Ewha and Sogang.
3. But more than all else, it is to be ardently hoped that all of us, respecting the convictions and consciences of each other, should earnestly strive to be fully one in faith and love, according to the will of Christ, as he is one with the Father, so that the world may believe (cf Jn 17, 21). May all of us realize that the credibility of Christ’s mission depends on the unity of his disciples.
Through the power of his Resurrection may be Lord Jesus make us one. "To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen" (2 Pt 3, 18)."
JPII's Words at the Inauguration of the National Pastoral Conference
at "Maria Hall", Catholic Medical College, Seoul, on Sunday, 6th May 1984 - in English & Italian
"Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
'Go therefore and make disciples of all nations' (Mt 28, 19). This last command of the Risen Lord, sending out the Apostles to the ends of the earth to announce the Good News, is the real reason why we are gathered here today.
In celebrating with joy and thanksgiving the Bicentennial of the Christian faith in your beloved land, you have resolved with God’s grace to bring "A Light to this Land". In this National Pastoral Conference you want to pray and search together - in close collaboration with your bishops and in union with the universal Church - for ways to make that resolve a living reality.
1. Jesus Christ, who entrusts you with this mission, was not only the first and the greatest evangelizer but was himself the Good News of God (cf Pauli VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi, 7). And so, in order to know what your mandate is and how to carry it out, you must turn to him. Jesus said: "I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God... for I was sent for this purpose" (Lk 4, 43). From that time he "began to preach, saying: ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand’" (Mt 4, 17).
But what was this Kingdom all about? On Jesus’ own lips, this message of hope and salvation becomes the Beatitudes:
"Blessed are the poor in spirit...
Blessed are those who mourn...
Blessed are the meek...
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness...
Blessed are the merciful...
Blessed are the pure in heart...
Blessed are the peacemakers...
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake...
Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account" (Mt 5, 3-11).
Christ not only preaches these things. In his life and death and resurrection he himself is the Good News of salvation (cf Mk 1, 1; Rom 1, 3). He is "the way, and the truth, and the life" (Jn 14, 6). From this fact, the Second Vatican Council drew a conclusion which affects us all: "Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the Church must walk the same path which Christ walked: the path of poverty, obedience, service and the sacrifice of himself unto death, from which he came forth a victor by his resurrection. For thus did all the Apostles walk in hope" (Ad Gentes, 5).
The first Christians had no wealth, no prestige, no power, not even church buildings. But, like Jesus himself, and because they were filled with his Spirit, they bore witness to the Good News by their own life, attracting the multitudes to conversion (Act 2, 42).
2. And what of your saintly ancestors? They too truly believed and lived the Beatitudes. They made the presence of Jesus visible and credible by their lives. Only this living witness, sustained by great charity and evangelical zeal, can explain how the Church could grow even under the cruelest persecution.
Today you are asking how you in turn are to bear witness to the Good News of God’s Kingdom. The Church in Korea today is widely known to be flourishing. Great things are being accomplished. For this we must raise our hearts to the Lord in joyful thanksgiving. Still, many challenges face you: how as a Church community are you to live the Beatitudes in the actual circumstances of your family, social and national life? What are you to do, in order to grow, not only in numbers, but in Christian maturity and in spiritual depth?
This is what your Pastoral Conference is all about. These are the concerns that underlie your discussions and reflections.
3. You are blessed to have an enviable, indeed a priceless heritage in the eminent examples of your ancestors, to inspire and guide you as you enter into the third century of your Christian history.
First, there is the bond of fraternal love that knew no barriers: nobles and ordinary people, rich and poor, they mingled, prayed and suffered together, and shared everything as brothers and sisters helping one another in adversity. No group predominated among them and none was neglected, as so frequently happens in the world. The humblest and the poorest felt quite at home in the community of faith. How will the Church in Korea have to be, so that these same virtues will be your strength? So that the poor, the workers, the outcasts will be loved and served without distinction of persons? So that the spirit of the Beatitudes will prevail over every form of discrimination and selfishness?
Then there is the peerless example of a laity full of apostolic initiative and zeal. Following the tradition of the early pioneers who of their own initiative sought the faith, studied, prayed together and spread the Good News, groups of dedicated men and women catechists were already formed in the 1780s. In the same way the invaluable work of the Myongdo Society, the "Society to Light the Way", during the decades of persecution, should also be emulated today. May the selfless apostolate of Saint Paul Chong Hasang spur you on! Your ancestors asked neither for recompense nor for recognition, but quietly and generously served others and spread the Gospel.
Admirable too is the life of faith they lived within the family. Of the 103 martyrs canonized today, many are of the same families, blood relatives, or descendants of martyr families. This is because they prayed together and together came to maturity in the faith, learning to fear and love God, to cherish, respect and love every human being as God’s child, all in the family. The family is the "domestic Church", where the parents are "the first communicators of the faith to their children" and where vocations are fostered (cf Lumen Gentium, 11). The truly Christian family is a "place where the Gospel is transmitted and from which the Gospel radiates" (Pauli VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi, 71). Building on the great spiritual and cultural traditions of Asia, in what ways will you become ever more a Church of praying families, and an example for the rest of the world?
4. Your forefathers in the faith made marvellous efforts to incarnate the Gospel in their own culture and national identity. In simple yet profound and beautiful language, they preached and composed songs, prayers, hymns, catechisms and devotional books that were so deeply rooted in their own culture and soul as to speak directly to the minds and hearts of the people. Such efforts, if imitated and sustained, will lead more surely to the evangelization of the culture within its own identity.
Particularly today, when the onslaught of unassimilated foreign civilization, with other life-styles and thought-patterns, creates confusion even within Church life, your farsighted and enlightened effort here will be invaluable.
5. And, firmly rooted as they were in their own specific identity, your ancestors never ceased to seek the closest possible union with the universal Church in belief, worship and life. No effort, no sacrifice was spared to establish and maintain living ties with the Bishop of Peking and the Successor of Saint Peter. St Paul Chong Hasang travelled nine times to Peking on foot and in secret to see the bishop there! And now, how will you seek the universal in the particular, and live the particular in such a way as to enrich the universal Church?
Your Korean ancestors found the faith through China. Yet, while remaining completely true to their own identity, nevertheless they were able to be perfectly united to the universal Church. Thus they set a living example of the fact that genuine identity and true catholicity, far from being mutually exclusive, require each other. And it is good to see you, dear faithful of Korea, earnestly seeking to live that worthy heritage creatively for today and for tomorrow. May the great and wise people of China who also first received the faith from without, seek, as true Chinese, to live that faith in full communion with the universal Church, to the joy and enrichment of all.
6. Doubtless, our day and age present wholly new challenges with its unprecedented speed and depth of transformation. Yet, as you enter undaunted into the third century of the presence of the Church in your land, may you be guided in announcing the Good News by the fixed bearings of witness of life, reconciliation through conversion, and sharing in love, which are themes of my pastoral visit to Korea. In this way you will bring "A Light to this Land", but above all you will be "A Light to this Land". May your martyr Saints accompany you on the journey, and may our Blessed Mother Mary, the Star of the Sea, lead you and your dear ones to the heaven of her Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom "be blessing and honour and glory and might for ever and ever" (Apoc 5, 13)."
Blessed Pope John Paul II's Address at the Farewell Ceremony
at the International Airport of Seoul-Kinpo, Korea, on Monday, 7th May 1984 - in English & Italian
1. "Your Excellency the President of the Republic, Beloved People of Korea,
As I now take leave of you and of your beautiful country, my heart is filled with gratitude, with joy and with hope.
1. I am deeply grateful for the moving warmth and kindness that I have received, for the very generous hospitality accorded me both by the Government and the Church, and by all the people of Korea. I express particular thanks to those who quietly made many unseen sacrifices so that this visit might bring gladness to others.
Above all I am grateful to God our Father that he has enabled me to make this pilgrimage to your land, that he has allowed me to raise its noble sons and daughters - Saint Andrew Kim and his 102 companion martyrs - to the honours of the altar.
2. I leave you also with great joy - joy most of all for having had the opportunity to join you in celebrating the bicentenary and the canonization. Surely, it has been a great experience, not only for the Catholic Church but for the entire Korean people who are honoured with such saintly forbears. It has indeed been a great joy for me to share in your happiness. Life would be sad and grey, it would lack cheer and luster, without such rejoicing, and without openness to the transcendent values represented by these events.
3. And this encounter of ours has given me much renewed hope. The youthful vitality, the edifying fervour, the readiness to make whatever effort and sacrifice necessary both to build a model nation and a true Christian community - all this inspires confidence and hope for a worthy tomorrow.
At the same time, however, all this moves me to remember with profound regret, sympathy, and sorrow those of your parents and children, brothers and sisters, friends and relatives in the North who could not share the joy of your celebration, and who are all waiting in pain and expectation to be reunited as one happy family.
Let my word of farewell therefore be an ardent prayer: may the merciful and good Lord grant all of you true happiness and peace, in a society of justice and fraternal love.
Thank you, and God bless you again!"
© Copyright 1984 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana