Father Lombardi: "The Pope Is Well and Very Happy With the Welcome"

Vatican Spokesman Reviews Pope’s First Day in Korea

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The director of the Vatican press office says that Pope Francis «is in good shape and is well pleased with his reception during the first day of his trip to South Korea.”

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi said the Holy Father «particularly appreciated” the presence of the President of the Republic at the airport, «as heads of state do not always come up to the aircraft steps. This presence indicates the value that the Korean people, not only the Catholics, give to this visit.”

“The Pope also appreciated the presence of some lay people at the airport, among whom were descendants of the martyrs to be beatified soon. This sign has been read as an exaltation of the family in Korea, in keeping with the Christian tradition,” the Vatican spokesman added.

He noted, “After the Pope arrived, he went to the nunciature, where he celebrated Mass in the presence of a small number of the faithful, including some women religious.”

“The Pope also preached, both in Italian and Spanish, just like at Santa Marta, before departure. He has not given up his brief daily homily,” Fr. Lombardi said.

“Unfortunately, it also showed the nation’s suffering due to the separation of the two Koreas, for almost 70 years. The commitment to reconciliation and peace is so important, which is why we must continue to work in this way.”

The Holy Father, referring to the tradition of recent popes, especially John Paul II, “has associated the construction of true peace to the restoration of genuine justice.”

“In the meeting with the bishops, Francis instead warned the clergy about the risks of worldliness and how this phenomenon can take away from effectively caring for and attending to the poor and needy, and devalue the mission of the Church in world.”


Father Lombardi went on to speak of Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, on a mission to Iraq as the Pope’s envoy.

The cardinal yesterday met with bishops of the region, as well as the homeless. They expressed gratitude to the Pope for his closeness.

The director of the Vatican press office also said that “the Holy Father is taking steps through charitable acts to alleviate the suffering of the Christian refugees in Babylon. To the Bishops of the Middle East region, it is as if a star of hope were born. Cardinal Filoni will soon meet, in the course of his mission, the head of state of Iraq.”


It also has been revealed, he said, that some young people from China have been discreetly present in South Korea. Despite the reluctance of their government, they wanted to participate in the apostolic visit of Pope Francis in Asia.

Tomorrow, August 15, is the Solemnity of the Assumption and a national holiday for the Liberation of Korea in 1945. Pope Francis will travel to Daejeon, where he will celebrate Mass in the football stadium, then have lunch at the major seminary with a delegation of young people participating in the Sixth Asian Youth Day, before meeting with them all at the Shrine of Solmoe, the place that commemorates the martyrdom of St. Andrew Kim.

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Alfonso Maria Bruno

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