Pope Francis addressed pilgrims from South Korea who were in Rome attending a Mass of Thanksgiving along with their bishops, who are in Rome for their “ad Limina Apostolorum” visit.
The Holy Father began his address by thanking them for their presence, as well as reminiscing on his visit to their country in August 2014.
“It was a beautiful visit, and I cannot forget your faith and your zeal,” he said. “I want to thank you for this.” He went on to ask the Bishops to greet the Korean faithful as well non-Catholics.
The Pope reflected on two specific aspects of the Church in Korea that he considered important in their history: the laity and the martyrs.
Regarding the laity, the 78 year old Pontiff highlighted their importance in bringing the faith to the country.
“Your Church was brought forward for two centuries only by the laity,” he said. “Help the laity to be more aware of this responsibility. They have inherited this glorious history.”
Reflecting on the second aspect, the Pope said that the Church in Korea has been “watered by the blood of the martyrs, thus giving life to it.” He went on to warn them that the “devil is crafty” and will seek to weaken the faith passed down by those who have given their lives.
“Do not forget, please: you are the sons of martyrs and apostolic zeal cannot be negotiated. I remember that which the Letter to the Hebrews tells us: “Remember the first moments, when you fought and suffered for the faith,” he said.
Concluding his address, Pope Francis encouraged the faithful to “love Jesus Christ, love the cross of Jesus Christ” and to love their history.
Before bidding them farewell, the Holy Father led them in praying a “Hail Mary”.