Ottawa (CCN) — Daejeon Bishop Lazzaro You says Pope Francis’ visit to South Korea a year ago continues to bear fruit.
In Korea, “we are trying to imitate him,” he said. He noted he recently gave an interview in which he described the pope as “still here in Korea because of what he said and what he did.”
“Every day I try to listen to what he says, and I try to put it into practice,” Bishop You said. He described the pope as “an instrument that brings people in front of God,” someone who makes people conscious that “God is before you, behind you, over you,” and you are “always accompanied.”
The pope’s encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si’, has also received a favourable reception in Korea, he said. As president of the Korean Catholic Bishop’s justice and peace commission, You was involved in preparing a Korean language summary of the document and meeting with government representatives to share the pope’s vision on energy policy. A news conference on Laudato Si’ attracted five television networks, he said. The country is in the midst of a debate on nuclear energy, he said, with many citizens expressing concern about safety.
You visited Ottawa July 15-17. At the invitation of Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, he meet with the parish of the Holy Korean Martyrs on July 15.
You participated closely in Pope Francis’ visit last August, during which the Holy Father beatified an additional 124 Korean martyrs, attended Asian Youth Day where he connected with 25,000 Korean young people and about 1,200 more from other Asian countries, and connected with the country’s 5.1 million Catholics.
Pope Francis urged the young people to never lose courage and to always keep hope, using the Korean martyrs as an example, the bishop said. The pope also urged them to connect with each other and walk with each other, as Catholics in Asia live in scattered communities and some experience some persecution.
Because Catholics are a minority — they make up 10.6 per cent of the population of South Korea — the pope urged them to dialogue with their fellow citizens and to remember their brothers and sisters in North Korea. If you are brothers and sisters, you no longer think in terms of who is winning or who is losing, he said.
Since the pope’s visit, a group of young people have formed an active network both inside his diocese and outside to carry on the pope’s vision, he said.
At Holy Korean Martyrs Parish in Ottawa July 15, You celebrated the eucharist, attended a reception with its Korean-speaking parishioners and delivered a lecture. He said his message to the parish was that the “Christian life is to belief in the love of God” and with this belief comes love and service to our brothers and sisters, he said.
And to love, according to Pope Francis, means to “have your hands dirty,” and “shoes dirty” because you have moved toward your brother, he said.
The bishop’s next stop is Chile, to confirm young members of a Korean parish in Santiago served by a missionary Korean priest from the Diocese of Daejeon; then he is on to Brazil to celebrate the 50th anniversary of a Korean Catholic Church in Sao Paulo, he said.