In Honor of Pope Francis' Visit to Kkottongnae
On August 16, 2014, Pope Francis made his first visit to Kkottongnae, Eumseong, in the Diocese of Cheongju. During his stay, Pope greeted disabled individuals, prayed for the unborn at the Cemetery for Aborted Children, and met with the religious communities of Korea and the leaders of the lay apostolate, as scheduled.
Thanking God for granting this opportunity to welcome Pope, I wish to express my gratitude to all of you for your support and assistance during the pope's visit. I know how much time and energy this preparation required, and I deeply appreciate all of your efforts to make it a great success.
In brief, Pope Francis first visited the House of Hope where he expressed his loving concern for the people with disabilities, disabled children, and those in need. Later, he blessed the crowds of approximately 30,000 Catholics lining the roads, smiling and waving. Also, Pope paid a short visit to the Cemetery for Aborted Children to pray for unborn child. The Holy Father clarified the sanctity of human life and its inviolability while he gave his blessing to Missionary Lee Gu-won with congenital limb deficiency.
Afterward, the Pope prayed Evening Prayer from the Breviary with the religious communities of 4400 individuals. He then encouraged them to live out 'great joy in heaven' by dedicating their life to being what they are through prayers, the Bible, Holy Communion, and community life of religious. He also emphasized the importance of living the Gospel of three virtues - poverty, chastity, and obedience.
Lastly, during his meeting with 153 lay leaders, the pope praised the organization's charitable works and encouraged them to continue working for human development, the importance of the family, the growth of the Church, and missionary work in Asia.
I assure you that the pope's visit, for which I am truly grateful, will not only bring attention to the poor and but also suggest a positive way out toward peace on the peninsula. On behalf of all the priests of the Diocese of Cheongju, I, hereby, wish you abundance of grace and mercy from God. Thank you!
Gabriel Chang Bong-hun, Bishop of Cheongju?