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Seoul to host 2027 World Youth Day
South Korea is first Asian country to hold the international Catholic youth festival in 30 yearsBy Lee Si-jin
Published : Aug. 7, 2023 - 16:30
Pope Francis on Sunday announced Seoul as the host of the 2027 World Youth Day site during the closing Mass for this year’s global Catholic Church event for young people in Lisbon.
South Korea will become the second Asian host of World Youth Day, a celebration organized by the Catholic Church for young devotees from all over the world, following the Philippines in 1995.
The closing Mass in Manila recorded the largest gathering of people in a religious event with over 5 million people, while more than 2 million pilgrims are estimated to have visited this year’s World Youth Day in Lisbon, according to the organizer.
The Archdiocese of Seoul estimated that 700,000 to 1 million people could participate in the 2027 World Youth Day, including some 200,000 to 300,000 overseas participants.
The Seoul Archdiocese hopes the upcoming World Youth Day will offer consolation, reconciliation and provide new value to young people in Korea.
The pope usually makes an appearance at World Youth Day. Should Pope Francis make the trip in 2027, it will mark a fourth visit by a head of the Catholic Church to South Korea. Pope John Paul II visited South Korea twice, in 1984 and 1989 and Francis in 2014.
“World Youth Day is an important event, where young Catholics across the globe gather to share their faith, culture and establish their roles in meeting the world's challenges, like climate change, poverty and world peace,” National Assembly Speaker Kim Jin-pyo said in congratulatory remarks on Sunday.
“Seoul’s hosting of World Youth Day is not only a celebration for the Korean Catholic Church, but also for the entire nation,” Kim said.
“The discussions on the humanity’s greatest challenges -- war, climate crisis and disease – will serve as a proof that we are moving toward a better future.”
Peter Chung Soon-taek, the archbishop of the Seoul Archdiocese, expressed his gratitude to Pope Francis for selecting Seoul as the host.
“I am excited and feel honored to meet young Catholics from all around the world in Seoul,” a press release quoted Chung as saying.
“World Youth Day isn’t just for the Catholic Church. It’s an event for everyone with good will. We will work closely with both the government and local authorities to prepare the event to benefit the entire humanity,” Chung said.
World Youth Day, which has been held every two to three years barring exceptional circumstances, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, features a six-day spiritual journey for young Catholics and offers various programs, including an opening Mass, religious events and more. This year's World Youth Day was held in Lisbon's Edward VII Park from Aug. 1 to Sunday.
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