|Pope Francis arrives at Daejeon Station Friday en route to the Daejeon World Cup Stadium to participate his first public Mass in Korea. (Yonhap)|
The pontiff was slated to arrive via helicopter to the city, some 160 kilometers south of Seoul, but went by KTX, the bullet train, due in part to cloudy and foggy weather, according to Father Hur Young-yup, the spokesman of the Committee for the Papal Visit to Korea.
“It’s not just because of the weather conditions. The Holy Father seems to be in touch with more people,” Hur said.
Some 500 passengers rode the train with the pope, although they were not allowed to approach the compartment where he was sitting due to security reasons.
The pontiff, however, left lasting impressions on the few he came in contact with.
“Each time I brought him things that he needed, he smiled and told me, ‘Thank you for being so kind.’ It appeared as if his humility was reflected in his every move,” one train crew member was quoted by Yonhap as saying.
The pope signed her copy of “The Life and Challenges of Pope Francis,” and along with it wrote, “With blessing, I ask you to kindly pray for me,” she said.
A boisterous crowd welcomed the pontiff at the train station. The pontiff took a moment to bless a 5-year-old girl.
The top priest, known as the people’s pope for his personal humility, is renowned for forgoing luxury bulletproof sedans and often opting for public transportation.
On his first day in Korea, he rode a compact Kia hatchback, forgoing luxury sedans usually offered to VIP guests like him.
By Lee Sun-young and Yoon Min-sik