Pope Francis baptized the father of a high school student killed in the Sewol ferry disaster on Sunday morning.
Lee Ho-jin, the father of Lee Seung-hyun, who died when the ferry sank in April, was baptized around 7 a.m. at the Vatican Embassy in Seoul.
According to the spokesman of the pope’s visit committee, the baptism was the first in 25 years offered by a pope in Korea. In October 1989, Pope John Paul II baptized 12 young adults during his visit to Seoul.
The baptism was attended by Lee’s family members, a priest from the Diocese of Suwon, in charge of the city of Ansan where Lee lives, and an Embassy staff who acted the role of godfather.
Lee’s baptismal name is Francesco after the Italian name for Pope Francis.
Lee asked the pope to baptize him 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.
He had taken a weeklong walking pilgrimage from Danwon High School in Ansan, southwest of Seoul, where 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 carried a 6-kilogram cross, which he gave to the pope. The pontiff said he would bring it back to Rome.
By Lee Woo-young (firstname.lastname@example.org)