During his upcoming apostolic voyage to South Korea Pope Francis is slated to meet with 20 Asian youth during the 2014 Asia Youth Day, including Korean pop-star BoA.
According to the Korean Times, representatives from 17 Asian countries will attend a luncheon with the Roman Pontiff Aug. 15, following his visit to Daejeon’s World Cup Stadium, where he will celebrate Mass for the Solemnity of the Assumption, after which he will have an official lunch with the diocese’s seminarians.
Among the 17 different countries the youth will come from are India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Taiwan, Nepal, China, Japan and Mongolia.
K-pop sensation BoA will also join the banquet as an honorary ambassador for the sixth Asian Youth Day, being held in Daejeon. Taking place Aug. 13 – 17, the event is expected to draw some 2,000 youngsters from 22 Asian countries.
The Roman Pontiff will travel to the Somoe Shrine after the luncheon, and will meet with all participants of the AYD later that evening.
Announced by the Vatican in March, the Pope’s Aug. 13 – 18 trip follows an invitation from both the president of the Korean Republic, Park Geun-hye, and the bishops of Korea.
Following the motto “Rise Korea, clothe yourself in light, the Lord’s glory shines upon you,” the Pope’s visit officially begins with his departure from Rome the evening of Wednesday, Aug. 13. He will travel to Daejeon Friday.
Nazarius Yoo Heung-sik, the diocese’s bishop, told reporters at a July 14 press conference that “The Daejeon diocesan territory is home to many Korean martyrs and the AYD will inspire young devout Catholics in Asia to look up to the sacrifices of the martyrs,” the Korean Times reports.
“The pope's visit at the event will be a huge encouragement for them.”
Pope Francis will close the AYD event by celebrating Mass for the participants Aug. 17, and will conclude his trip the next day with a Mass in Seoul's Myeongdong Cathedral, where he is expected to give a message for peace to the Korean peninsula.
The Times also reports that the committee organizing the Pope's visit have invited former wartime “comfort women,” prostitutes, during the Japanese occupation of 1910-1945 to participate in the Mass, and have also sent invitations to Catholic organizations in North Korea and are waiting for their reply.
Pope Francis’ trip will mark the first time in 25 years that a pope has visited the Korean peninsula, the last occurring when St. John Paul II came in October 1989, following a 1984 trip where he canonized 103 Korean martyrs.