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Arise, Shine!Pope Francis visited Korea to spread out his messages
Since the visit of Pope John Paul II, Pope Francis’ visit to South Korea from August 14th to 18th marked the first visit of a Pope in 25 years. On March 13th, 2013, after the sudden resignation of Pope Benedict XVI due to health reasons, Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected as the 266th Pope of the Roman Catholic Church. For the first time in Catholic’s history, he chose the name of Saint Francis of Assisi, who devoted his life for the poor and the peace. Because of his unique behaviors compared to previous Popes, he draws fans all over the world regardless of religion. This so-called “Pope of Streets” has touched many hearts and helped the people in need to overcome the hardships. As one of the main purposes of his visit was to meet the young people at the 6th Asian Youth Day, this event was much meaningful especially for the young adults.
  Then, who is he exactly?
  He is famous for his humble lifestyles. Normally, the previous Popes resided at the Papal apartments in the Apostolic Palace in Vatican City with a private limousine. Pope Francis, however, stays at Vatican guesthouse and takes buses with other priests instead. Even on his birthday, he surprisingly chose to have a simple breakfast with the homeless. Additionally, he often confesses himself to other general priest and bathes the feet of drug addicts, women and even Muslims. Such breaking-the-frame actions are praised by people, considering the Catholic Church’s history that footbath is usually for the Catholics.
  He is not only praised for his way of living but also for his acts according to his principles of peace across all borders. His efforts on protecting the justice appear constantly. He warned the Mafia to stop the violence during masses, purged the black money from the Vatican Bank, and comforted the victims’ souls. Even though these activities threatened him with death, he has never shown even a small hesitation. His courage initiated Italian police force to arrest the Mafia aggressively. Another distinctive attitude he has is the way he communicates with people. When fire broke out at the Republica Cro Magnon club in Buenos Aires on December 30th, 2004, 194 people were killed and 410 were injured. As the time passed, people slowly forgot this accident. Yet, Pope Francis kept emphasizing that we are so busy considering about work, money and for the perfect weekend that we do not have time to remember and to cry for the victims and their families anymore. Moreover, he replied to a ten-year-old Californian girl’s letter to help her undocumented immigrant father by supporting reunion of father and daughter just in three days. “Cartonero,” extremely poor people in Argentina who support themselves by collecting recyclable materials, have also received the pontiff’s help. Through his several masses at Constitution Square and his interest toward them, the Cartonero has formally been acknowledged as a job and received social aids such as working clothes and social insurances. In accordance with such passion to communicate, he actively uses Twitter. On April 16th, 2014, he tweeted, “Please join me in praying for the victims of the ferry disaster in Korea and their families,” to express support from around the world.
  Among his messages to young people, which things are particularly important to young Koreans and why? The main point of his lessons is the importance of a belief system that is centered in having a sense of sympathy and humanity. When the Lampedusa migrant shipwreck occurred on October 3rd, 2013, in Italy, the Holy Father criticized the social condition which led people to show indifferences towards world tragedies and emphasized that men should not disregard people who are suffering. Africans who were on the ship risked their lives to find jobs for better lives. It means that they were all the victims of isolation from the globe.
  Such phenomenon is clearly presented in Korean society. Not even five months have passed since the Sewol ferry disaster happened. Yet, people are slowly losing their attentions regarding on this issue. Korean government also desperately tried to find something else to blame on in order to change people’s concern. Military problems such as the cases of Sergeant Lim and Private Yoon arose also from carelessness. Military authorities have been concealing assault issues, sexual harassments, verbal violence and many others. If society was aware of this incident, the victims may have avoided committing suicides.
  In the middle of such issues, there are the young people, lost and confused in this fast changing and competitive society. To them, Pope Francis gave hope for the future by saying, “Life is a journey. When we stop, things do not go right.” He also pointed out how important the role that young people play in this society is. “The young people in the street are the ones who want to be actors of change. Please do not let others be actors of change.” After his visit, Kim Eun-hee, a sophomore who majors in Business Administration, commented, “Uncountable numbers of students in Korea may have gained positive energy by the Pope Francis’ recent visit to Korea. As this event was the first papal visit since Pope John Paul’s one in 1989, it absolutely exercised a far reaching influence not only to the religious society but also to the non-religious society as well. The reason is that this graceful visit by Pope Francis may comfort various people who are praying for the recent accidents in Korea which we all still cannot and should not forget. The Holy Father also gives out hopeful messages to young people in the world. It brings out positive energies of the young people in Korea and helps them to think about themselves in a different way.” 
  Since the pontiff is so influential in society, the positive transition of Korean community is expected as well. Through his visit, the wounds of victims of comfort women and Sewol disaster are expected to be healed. Moreover, his messages give young people the energies and motivations to overcome this gloomy period and to start bright future. Lee So-hee, a freshman who majors in Administration, reviews, “I think his visit means a lot to Korea. With nobleness, he embraces everyone without  a discrimination. I hope the believers in Korea learn his kindness by his visit.” With his teachings as a guide, the county would prepare to welcome the vibrant future and the young by keeping his quote in mind. “We must restore the hopes of young people, help the old, keep our mind opened to the future, and spread love. Be poor among the poor. We need to include the excluded and preach for peace.”

Lee Seo-yeon  sullylee0516@dongguk.edu

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