ECCLESIA IN ASIA The Archdiocese of Seoul wants to host WYD 2027

Bishop Peter Chung Soon-taick wants to bring World Youth Day to Asia: “It would be an extraordinary opportunity to relaunch youth ministry in a country that is struggling against the demographic winter and with an educational system dominated by competition.” The announcement now overlaps with the dramatic news of the hundreds of deaths and injuries in the stampede that occurred during the Halloween celebrations in the Itaewon neighborhood.

Bangkok () – “We want to bring World Youth Day to Seoul in 2027. We present our candidacy for our diocese to host the world youth meeting with the Pope in the edition following next year’s in Lisbon” .

From Bangkok, where he is currently attending the General Conference of Catholic Churches in Asia, we received this announcement two days ago from Bishop Peter Chung Soon-taick, the 61-year-old prelate who was summoned by Pope Francis to head the archdiocese of Seoul just a year ago. We had noticed the great attention that he paid to everything that moves around the Korean youth world, as well as the availability of this local Church to take on the challenge of a qualitative leap in its presence with young people. The dramatic news that came out of Seoul last night – with hundreds of dead and injured in a stampede during Halloween celebrations in the neighborhood of Itaewon- they now give a slightly different nuance to the educational challenge that underlies this desire of the Church for one of the largest metropolises in the world.

From the Carmelite order, former auxiliary bishop of his predecessor – Card. Archbishop Andrew Yeom Soo-jung-Chung made his entrance into Myeongdong Cathedral on December 8, 2021 accompanied by young people. When he tells about the dream he hopes to make come true, he explains that the purpose of bringing World Youth Day to Seoul is due precisely to the desire to relaunch youth ministry in the Korean Church, which after its boom years is increasingly affecting least in the generation under 30 years. He is not unaware of the interest that Korean youth culture arouses today in the new generations around the world, but his ambition is to help them find the values ​​that the Gospel and the Korean tradition itself have to offer.

Until now, only once in its history has WYD been held in Asia: in Manila, in 1995, with John Paul II. In 2027 it would summon those who were not yet born at that time and offer an extraordinary opportunity to young Catholics from all over Asia. Monsignor Chung insists on warning that “nothing has been decided yet”, since, as usual, “it will be the Pope who decides” which city will collect the legacy of Lisbon. But Seoul hopes to be chosen, not only because of the event itself, but because of what it could represent in the moment that its Church is living. “In Korea we face a great challenge – explains the Archbishop of Seoul – because the total number of young people is decreasing considerably. Compared to twenty years ago, the number of young people has decreased by about 25%. The birth rate in our country is the lowest in the world. According to official statistics, only 0.8 children per couple, even lower than that of Japan. Consequently, the number of young people attending our churches is also decreasing.”

But demographic decline is not the only reason for the rising average age of Korean Catholic communities. “There is another reason – continues Bishop Chung – related to the fact that today many students, even from primary school, end up trapped by the maelstrom of competition to win a place in the best universities, the gateway to jobs most quoted. Even among Catholic parents there are some who dissuade their children from participating in church activities in order to attend extracurricular courses that help them study even more.” This competition is a very heavy load on the shoulders of young people, to which the Covid-19 pandemic has added in the last three years.

“That is why – the prelate continues – we need a turning point for youth ministry in Seoul, and WYD is a good opportunity. We presented the project to the other bishops of Korea, who gave their support. Nothing is decided yet. But we are preparing the report with our candidacy to send it to the Holy See”.

What contribution could a World Youth Day in Seoul make? “A WYD -replies Bishop Chung- does not begin and end in a few days; it is a path. The preparation can be an excellent opportunity to gather young people around a project, turning them into protagonists. Encourage them to invite their friends to live this experience together. A process would be launched. And even, once finished, it would be beautiful to share with everyone what we have lived, it would become a missionary opportunity to share the values ​​of the Gospel in our society. That’s why I think WYD can be a turning point for Seoul.”

It is also interesting that precisely at this moment the fascination with Korea is spreading among young people all over the world: from K-pop music to TV series, many boys and girls in the global village feel the same length of wave that Seoul. “It is true – answers the archbishop – K-culture today attracts many young people, and if we have the opportunity to host WYD it will be an interesting card for us. It could be an incentive for many, encouraging them to participate. Without a doubt, the values ​​of K-culture are not Catholic, but it is a face of our country; it will be up to us to know how to use it to spread the Gospel of Jesus, which is what really interests us”.

Added to the awareness that the history and traditions of Korea also have much to offer to the new generations. “I am thinking, for example, of respect for others and respect for the elderly – adds Bishop Chung – attitudes that have been deeply rooted in our mentality for thousands of years. Even before my country knew Christianity, here it was said that the human being is heaven, that each life is as valuable as the divine. We would like to be able to share precisely these things in 2027 with young people around the world.”



Source link

Written by Editor TLN

The US accuses Russia of "using food as a weapon" and the EU asks it to return to the 'grain pact'

The US accuses Russia of “using food as a weapon” and the EU asks it to return to the ‘grain pact’

Rwanda rejects the expulsion of its ambassador to the DRC as an attempt to cover up "security flaws"

Rwanda rejects the expulsion of its ambassador to the DRC as an attempt to cover up “security flaws”