The motto and logo for Pope Francis’ Aug. 14-18 visit to South Korea have been released.
Delegates from the Korean preparation committee are in Rome for three days of meetings with the Vatican’s office for liturgical celebrations and other Vatican agencies.
“Arise! Shine, for your light has come, the glory of the Lord has dawned upon you” (Isaiah 60:1) will be the motto for the trip, the first of a pontiff to South Korea since John Paul II’s visit 25 years ago.
The logo consists of the shape of flame on the top, and the shape of a boat which also resembles the waves; it represents the main theme of the papal visit, “Arise, shine (Isaiah 60:1)” — to rise like the wakes and to shine like the flame.
The color blue and red of the flame signifies the separated country of North and South Korea, while they also represent the hope for peace and unification.
The boat resembles both the waves and the blade of a knife to commemorate the sacrifice of the martyrs who established the Church in Korea. The light blue color signifies the mercy of God which is as wide as the ocean.
To prepare for the pastoral visit of Pope Francis, the Church in Korea is planning to hold several prayer events and other events throughout the country.
Vatican Radio noted that Pope Francis is travelling to South Korea for two main purposes. Firstly for the 6th Asian Youth Day, August 13-17, which is taking place in the Diocese of Daejeon and has the motto “Asian Youth! Wake up! The glory of the martyrs shines upon you.”
The youth day motto also points to the second purpose of Pope Francis’ visit: the beatification of 124 Korean martyrs. These are Paul Yun Ji-chung, the first Korean martyr, and 123 companions, who were executed for the faith between 1791 and 1888 by the Joseon Dynasty.
Thirty years ago, Pope John Paul II visited Korea for the canonization ceremony of 103 Korean martyrs including Andrew Kim Tae-gon, the first Korean native priest.
Asia is home to the world’s fastest growing Catholic community, more than doubling in numbers in the last century, despite remaining an overall religious minority. In Korea, Catholicism has grown by an estimated 70% over the past decade – numbering more than 5 million faithful – about 10% of the national population.