Seoul's cathedral is a 19th-century Gothic structure that seats an estimated 1,000. It sits on top of a small hill, one of the many in the capital city of South Korea. The cathedral, known locally as the Myeong-dong Cathedral, was the first parish in Korea.
Francis in Korea
Analysis: Every ounce of Francis' personal charm and ability to articulate a Gospel-based faith will be required for his journey to have a lasting impact.
A Vatican spokesman on Thursday released more information about Pope Francis' trip next week to South Korea, highlighted by his attendance at the sixth Asian Youth Day and the beatification of 124 Korean martyrs.
It will be his first trip to Asia as pope.
The pope's itinerary is packed with a wide range of events. He will meet with:
North Korea has declined an invitation by South Korean Catholics to participate in a Mass to be celebrated by Pope Francis at the end of his five-day visit.
Francis is scheduled to celebrate a Mass for peace and reconciliation Aug. 18 on the Korean Peninsula at Myeong-dong Cathedral in central Seoul. Catholic church officials in Seoul extended several requests to Pyongyang to send a delegation of believers to attend the event.
Asian Youth Day, scheduled Aug. 13-17 in South Korea, is a smaller event that the international World Youth Day celebrations, said the Bangladeshi priest organizing the event.
Approximately 90 bishops from around the world will accompany Pope Francis on his visit to South Korea next month, the preparation committee for the papal visit said Monday.
"Some 90 bishops, including 30 in the pope's entourage and 60 from other Asian countries, will attend various events during the pope's visit to South Korea," the committee told reporters.
When Pope Francis visits South Korea Aug. 14-18, he will find a Catholic church that exemplifies much of what he hopes for the church around the world, including a highly active laity, extensive efforts to help the needy and strong relations with non-Christian communities. So says a retired American missionary who spent nearly half a century building up Catholicism in the country.
Korean women forced to work at Japanese military brothels during World War II have been invited to a Mass that Pope Francis will celebrate on Aug. 18 during his planned visit to South Korea, Korean news agencies are reporting, citing an announcement by the Korean papal preparatory committee.
Pope Francis' upcoming trip to South Korea has sparked controversy there, revealing long-festering church-state divisions and even some feuds among Korean Catholics themselves.
South Korea has invited members of the Catholic community of North Korea to participate in the Mass that Pope Francis will celebrate in Seoul during his visit to South Korea, set for Aug. 14 to 18, according to Fides News.
The move was confirmed by Fr. John Bosco Byeon, Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in Korea and Under Secretary of the Korean Episcopal Conference. According to the reports, South Korean Catholics met North Korean Catholics in Shenyang, China May 18th and 19th, and invited them to attend the papal Mass.