Pope Francis will spend Friday, the second day of his five-day apostolic tour of Korea, in Daejeon, to celebrate Mass and attend a gathering of young Catholics from Asian countries.
On the Catholic calendar, Aug. 15 is Assumption Day, a major feast day to mark the death of Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, and her bodily assumption into Heaven.
The pope, flying some 160 kilometers from Seoul by helicopter, will celebrate a Mass for the occasion at the Daejeon World Cup Stadium. It will start at 10:30 a.m. and is expected to draw tens of thousands of people.
Soprano Sumi Jo and veteran pop singer Insooni, both devout Catholics, will sing before the service.
Bereaved family members of the victims of Sewol ferry disaster were invited to the event. The pope is scheduled to meet them in person shortly after the Mass and is expected offer words of consolation.
The family members are expected to ask for the pope’s public support on the legislation of a controversial bill, which aims to create an inquiry panel to determine the causes of the ferry’s sinking on April 16. The disaster left 294 dead and another 10 missing.
At 1:30 p.m., the pope will lunch with 20 young Asian leaders from 17 Asian countries at the Daejeon Catholic University. He will then head for a Catholic holy ground, Solmoe, in Dangjin, South Chungcheong Province, where he will meet and address participants in the 6th Asian Youth Day.
The Solmoe Holy Ground is the birthplace of Korea’s first priest Kim Tae-gon.
The 6th Asian Youth Day is the primary reason behind the 77-year-old Argentine pontiff‘s decision to travel to Korea, his first outing to Asia since becoming pope in March last year. About 2,000 young believers from across Asia are gathered for this year’s festival. No pope has attended the event before.
The pontiff will return to the Apostolic Nunciature in Seoul, his home during the Korean trip, by helicopter.
By Lee Sun-young (firstname.lastname@example.org)