(Vatican Radio) “Arise! Shine, for your light has come, the glory of the LORD has
dawned upon you" (Is, 60:1): this is the motto for Pope Francis’ upcoming Apostolic
Voyage to Korea (14 to 18 August 2014), the first Papal trip to the nation since Blessed
John Paul II’s visit 25 years ago.
The motto and logo were presented to the Vatican by a delegation from the Korean Bishop’s Conference organizing committee who are in Rome this week to finalize the latest details of events. The group is led by Fr. Chung Ui-chul and Fr. Hur Young- Yup, respectively in charge of Liturgical Celebrations and Public Relations for the papal visit.
The official logo for the event is two intertwining flames, one blue and the other red, which rise from two waves that represent a boat . The colors indicate the two Koreas and the intertwining of the flames aims to emphasize a desire for the reunification of the two nations. The blue waves that form the boat are shaped like knife blades, a sign of the sacrifice of the martyrs of the Korean Church . The blue stands for God’s mercy which is as great as the ocean.
Pope Francis is travelling to South Korea for two main purposes. Firstly for the 6th Asian Youth Day (AYD), August 13-17, which is taking place in the diocese of Daejeon and will gather young Christians together from across the continent under the motto “Asian Youth! Wake up! The glory of the martyrs shines upon you”.
The AYD motto also points to the second purpose of Pope Francis visit: the beatification of 124 Korean martyrs. These are Paul Yun Ji-chung, the first Korean martyr, and 123 companions who were executed between 1791 and 1888 for the Faith by the Joseon Dynasty. 30 years ago, Pope John Paul II visited Korea for the canonization ceremony of 103 Korean martyrs including Andrew Kim Tae-gon, the first Korean native priest.
Asia is home to the world’s fastest growing Catholic community, more than doubling in numbers in the last century, despite remaining an overall religious minority. In Korea, Catholicism has grown by an estimated 70% over the past decade - numbering more than five million faithful - about ten percent of the national population.