[Papal Visit] Pope to baptize father of Sewol victim
Pope Francis will baptize the father of a boy who died in the Sewol ferry disaster in April, organizers of the papal visit said Saturday.
The pontiff, on his first trip to Asia, will lead the ceremony himself Sunday at the Vatican Embassy in Seoul, said Rev. Hur Young-yup, spokesman for the government-civilian Committee for the Papal Visit to Korea.
The man, 62-year-old Lee Ho-jin, asked to be baptized by the pope when he met him Friday before the Mass at the World Cup Stadium in Daejeon. The pope accepted the request. Lee was among a group of 10 victims’ relatives and survivors of the ferry disaster who the pope invited for a private audience.
The Sewol, which carried more than 400 passengers and crew members – most of whom were high school students on a school trip -- sank on April 16, leaving more than 300 dead or missing. Lee’s son, Seung-hyun, was among the students.
Lee arrived in Daejeon on Friday after a weeklong walking pilgrimage from Danwon High School in Ansan, southwest of Seoul, which his son and most of the student victims attended, stopping on the way at Jindo Island, near where the ferry capsized. Throughout the journey, he had carried a 6 kilogram cross. He gave the pope the cross and the pontiff said he would take it to Rome.
“The baptism was originally scheduled for Saturday morning, but was postponed to Sunday due to lack of preparations,” said Hur.
By Lee Woo-young (firstname.lastname@example.org)