Pope Francis is to visit South Korea in August, the Vatican announced today.
“Welcoming the invitation from the President of the Republic and the Korean bishops, His Holiness Francis will make an Apostolic Trip to the Republic of Korea from 14 to 18 August 2014, on the occasion of the Sixth Asian Youth Day, to be held in the diocese of Daejon,” the Vatican said in a statement.
Roughly 10 percent of the population of South Korea are Catholics. Blessed Pope John Paul II visited the country twice. The number of Catholics has grown by around 3 percent per annum for the past 11 years, according to Church data.
The Holy Father has voiced his willingness to visit Asia because Benedict XVI didn’t have time to do so.
Earlier this year, the Vatican confirmed that a visit to South Korea was under study. The probability increased when the Vatican announced last month that Francis had declared 124 Koreans killed for the faith in past centuries be officially recognised as martyrs.
His visit to South Korea will be his third international trip after Brazil last year, and the Holy Land at the end of May 2014.
Francis has also said he would like to visit the Philippines and Sri Lanka but the Vatican has said these won’t take place this year.