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South Korea invites North Korean Catholics for Pope's mass in Seoul

South Korea has invited members of North Korea's Catholic community to attend the upcoming mass to be held by Pope Francis in Seoul, officials here said Sunday.

They said representatives of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea and the Archdiocese of Seoul met with members of the North Korean Catholic Church in Shenyang, China, on May 18 and 19, and invited them to attend the papal mass.

Pope Francis will celebrate the mass at Myeongdong Cathedral in Seoul on Aug. 18 and deliver a message for peace on the Korean Peninsula.

According to officials here, the North Korean representatives said they will carefully consider the invitation.

Pope Francis, who will meet with President Park Geun-hye and attend a gathering of young Catholics during his Aug. 14-18 visit, is the second pope to come to South Korea. Pope John Paul II visited here in 1984 and again in 1989.

Last Wednesday, South Korea's Cardinal Andres Yeom Soo-jung paid an unprecedented visit to North Korea to meet with South Korean Catholics working at a joint inter-Korean factory park in Kaesong. He expressed hope for continued dialogue between the two Koreas to promote peace.

A day after Cardinal Yeom visited North Korea, Rev. Huh Young-yeop, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Seoul, said in a radio interview that officials preparing for the papal visit intended to invite North Korean Catholics to the mass. (Yonhap)