Pope Francis conveyed his warm regards to the President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Korea, Bishop Matthias Ri Iong-Hoon of Suwon, in a message marking the 60th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the Republic of Korea and the Holy See.
The Pope expressed his heartfelt good wishes and spiritual closeness to the Korean Bishops. “I offer my heartfelt good wishes and the assurance of my spiritual closeness to you and to all the Bishops of Korea.”
Formal diplomatic relations between South Korea and the Vatican were established in 1963, and the two entities have maintained a close connection.
Pope St. John Paul II visited South Korea twice in 1984 and 1989, while Pope Francis visited in 2014 for the 6th Asian Youth Day.
Reflecting on this history, the Pope’s message highlighted, “This anniversary is a moment to look back with gratitude at the journey made together.”
The 60th-anniversary celebration included a special thanksgiving Mass at Myeongdong Cathedral in Seoul, presided over by Bishop Ri Iong-Hoon on Monday.
Pope Francis, through a message read by Apostolic Nuncio to Korea, Archbishop Fernando Duarte Barros Reis, expressed hope for the continued development of friendly ties between South Korea and the Holy See.
He also encouraged the two parties to collaborate for peace and reconciliation on the Korean Peninsula, noting, “May the two parties continue to work together to promote peace and reconciliation in the Korean Peninsula.”
The Pope expressed gratitude for the many graces received by the Catholic community in Korea, particularly highlighting the spread of the Gospel, the growth of the local Church, and its positive impact on Korean society.
He expressed trust that this influence would continue to bear cultural and spiritual fruits, especially for marginalized and impoverished individuals.
“In a particular way, we can be thankful for the spread of the Gospel, the growth of the local Church, and its contribution to the well-being of Korean society,” the pope said.
Fondly recalling his Apostolic Journey to Seoul in 2014, Pope Francis remembered the Mass for the beatification of the Korean Martyrs.
He praised these martyrs for their sacrifice and dedication to spreading God’s Kingdom, which laid the foundation for a flourishing and vibrant Church in the region.
“Out of love for Jesus and their desire to spread God’s Kingdom, they gave their lives in this land and sowed the seeds for what has become a blossoming and vibrant Church,” he said.
Pope Francis expressed anticipation for the 2027 World Youth Day (WYD) in South Korea. He prayed that young people would continue to bear witness to Christ as they prepare for the event.
Seoul has been selected as the host city for the 2027 WYD, marking the second time an Asian city has hosted the event since the Philippines in 1995.
“I express my anticipation for the upcoming World Youth Day in 2027 in Seoul and pray that young people will continue to bear this precious witness to Christ,” said Pope Francis.
Pope Francis entrusted the nation to the intercession of the Korean Martyrs and Mary, Mother of the Church.
He imparted his blessing as a pledge of grace and peace in the Lord Jesus Christ, concluding with, “I entrust the beloved Korean Nation to the intercession of the Korean Martyrs and Mary, Mother of the Church, and impart my Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of grace and peace in the Lord Jesus Christ.”