July 1, 2014. The Council of Cardinals began their fifth meeting with the Pope at the Vatican. Starting today at Casa Santa Marta, it will end on Friday, July 4. The previous meetings were from 1 to 3 October 2013, 3 -5 December 2013, from 17 to 19 February 2014 and 28 to 30 April 2014.
With one of the world's most dynamic Churches, South Koreans have another reason to be proud, Seoul Archbishop Andrew Yeom Soo-jung is now a cardinal.
He leads a growing Church, with one of the highest conversions of Catholics, and a big missionary spirit. That will be on full display for Asian Youth Day. Especially since the Vatican just confirmed that the Pope himself will be a guest, from August 14th to the 18th.
Even though there were rumors, an official announcement had not yet been confirmed, until Monday. As the Cardinal prayed for the Pope's visit, he noted that his predecessor, Benedict XVI, visited all continents, except Asia.
This year, the South Korean city of Daejeon will host Asian Youth Day in the month of August, where thousands of young adults are expected to celebrate their faith.
The Seoul cardinal emphasized that Jesus was born in the heart of Asia. The Pope's visit he said, will inject hope, and usher in a new era for the Church in Asia.
Despite its long history, Catholicism is still relatively new to Korea. In fact, it was laypeople, not missionaries, who established the first Catholic communities in the peninsula in the 18th Century.
It's a testament to the local church's missionary spirit. A spirit that at times came at the cost of lives. It's expected that during the visit by Pope Francis, he will preside the beatification ceremony for 124 Korean martyrs, victims of religious persecution.