This afternoon, the Holy Father arrived at the Shrine of Solmoe, birthplace of the martyr St. Andrew Kim Taegon, Korea’s first priest. Here below is the welcome address given by Bishop Lazzaro You Heung Sik of Daejeon at the meeting with Asian youth at the Shrine.
My dear young friends, welcome to all of you who have come to the Asian Youth Day that began with the motto “Rise, young people of Asia. The glory of the martyrs shines on you.”
As Confucius said: “It is a real joy to welcome a friend who had come from afar”. Behold, I thank you and I rejoice because of you, so many friends, you have come from afar. In addition, here with us is a very special friend who came from the farthest place. Our great friend is the beloved Pope Francis.
With all my heart I thank the Holy Father of His coming to Korea to meet you, young people of Asia. This place, Solmoe, where we gathered for this day is a very special place. It is a special place because it was here that ‘St. Andrew Kim Dae-Geon’, the first priest of the Korean Church, who was born without accepting the faith missionaries, a unique example in the world. Even many martyrs have suffered persecution and were martyred here, some at your age, having lived a life of faith. I believe that the martyrs of this land will be with you in prayer and in the breath.
Today, our society and our Church are exposed to various temptations. The wealth and material success we prefer more than ethics, and the theistic view of the world is influencing our values. In addition, we are getting sick because of the destruction of life and the environment. We are at a crucial moment, where we require a faithful martyr. Martyrdom today means choosing the truth, following her and putting it into practice, thus overcoming the temptations around me. As our martyrs have freed slaves with the decision and welcomed them as brothers and sisters, we must also turn on the light of faith, with our way of life and our testimony.
Like the martyrs who built the Church on this earth with blood, we ought to oppose it again, firmly, the cornerstone of faith in the great wave of atheism, of contempt for life, and the idolatry of materialism.
Holy Father, bless and encourage these young people who are facing these challenges, because they are faithful. We, too, in imitation of the glorious martyrs, wherever we go we try to live as missionaries and builders of peace.
Holy Father, go ahead, evangelizing the world and the Church, counting on us.
We are united with you, Your Holiness.
Thank you so much. We want the good, the Holy Father.