Group of North Koreans May Participate in Pope's Mass in Seoul

South Korean Church Sent Invitation, North Korea Considers

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North Koreans may participate in the Mass that Pope Francis will celebrate in Seoul at the end of his August pilgrimage in Korea, a senior official at Korea’s pontifical mission societies has said.

Father John Bosco Byeon, director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in Korea and under-secretary of its episcopal conference, said that South Korea has invited members of the Catholic community of North Korea to participate in the Mass that Pope Francis will celebrate in South Korean capital of Seoul. The Mass will take place in the Myeongdong Cathedral at the end of his pilgrimage in Korea from August 14 to 18, reported Fides Monday.

This was was confirmed by the South Korean Catholic community representatives that had met with some members of the Catholic Church of North Korea in Shenyang, China, on May 18-19. They extended the invitation to the group of North Korean Catholics to attend the Pope’s Mass on Aug. 18, where the Pontiff is expected to deliver a message of peace to the Korean peninsula.

Representatives from the Church in South Korea have said North Korean representatives have said they will carefully consider the invitation.

On May 21, Cardinal Andres Yeom Soo-jung, archbishop of Seoul, made an historic visit to North Korea to meet Catholics, particularly South Korean citizens committed as cross-border workers in the industrial park in Kaesong.

The cardinal expressed the hope to continue the dialogue between the two Koreas to promote peace.

Pope Francis is the second pope to visit the country, after Pope John Paul II, who visited Korea in 1984 and 1989. (D.C.L.)

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