I had the opportunity to travel to Jeju Island off the coast of South Korea in the East China Sea from Oct. 29 to Nov. 4. I previously spent four days in Manila, Philippines, where I was invited to speak at the first Asia Pacific Dialogue on Human Rights and Respect for the Dignity of Life with the theme: "No Justice Without Life." I left an amazing community in Manila standing for life and justice and saying "No" to state-sponsored killing.
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Pope's quotes: Some of our favorite quotes from Pope Francis
During his trip, Pope Francis built on the theme of reconciliation, coupling it with calls for forgiveness and inclusiveness, especially keeping in mind the poor and marginalized of society.
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Pope Francis, in mourning for the deaths of his nephew's wife and two small children, thanked people at his weekly general audience Wednesday for their prayers.
After each of the priests who translate the pope's words offered him condolences for the tragedy that struck his family, Pope Francis explained to the people: "The pope has a family, too. We were five siblings, and I have 16 nieces and nephews. One of these nephews was in an accident. His wife died along with his two small children -- one who was 2 years old and the other several months."
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Hundreds of Catholic faithful and non-Catholic admirers of Pope Francis braved the pouring rain to try to get a glimpse of him outside his final Mass before he left South Korea.
On a street in the popular shopping district of Myongdong, in downtown Seoul, people jostled each other with umbrellas. A video monitor was set up, but it faced just one side of the block. The bystanders were all hoping for a glimpse of Pope Francis at the end of the Mass Monday for peace and reconciliation, when he was expected to pass by in a covered vehicle in the downpour.
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The legacy of the Korean martyrs should inspire us to work in harmony "for a more just, free and reconciled society," Pope Francis said Saturday.