During a press conference today at the Vatican, Fr. Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican Press office, gave journalists details on the Pope’s visit to South Korea, which will take place Aug. 14-18.
Marking his third international pilgrimage, the Pontiff’s visit to the Asian country is for the occasion of the 6th Asian Youth Day, as well as the beatification of 124 Korean martyrs.
Fr. Lombardi noted the “horrific history of martyrdom in the country.”
Earlier this month, the Holy See Press Office announced the Holy Father’s itinerary for the visit, detailing his program. In addition to the youth day celebrations, the Pope will celebrate the Mass of Beatification for Paul Jun Ji-Ching among others. He will also celebrate several other public Masses in South Korea.
Moreover, he will visit shrines and meet with youth, religious, lay, and officials. Regarding the time difference, Korea is seven hours ahead of Rome.
In addition to going over the Pope’s already published itinerary, Fr. Lombardi added that the Holy Father will address the young people gathered for the Asian Youth Day in English. Upon his arrival, he will address the nation’s authorities in English. For the majority of the events, the Holy Father will speak in Italian, which will be translated into Korean shortly afterward.
The director of the Holy See Press Office declined to comment on speculation regarding a potential meeting with Chinese officials, as well as on North Korea’s recent refusal to attend the Pope’s final Mass in South Korea.
Pope Francis is scheduled to celebrate a Mass of Reconciliation in the Myeongdong Cathedral on August 18th to pray for peace in the Korean Peninsula.
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