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South Korea will hold next Catholic youth festival: pope

Pope Francis, celebrating mass in Lisbon, said Seoul will host the next World Youth Day in 2027
Pope Francis, celebrating mass in Lisbon, said Seoul will host the next World Youth Day in 2027 - Copyright AFP Roman PILIPEY
Pope Francis, celebrating mass in Lisbon, said Seoul will host the next World Youth Day in 2027 - Copyright AFP Roman PILIPEY

Seoul in South Korea will host the next World Youth Day, a major Catholic youth festival, in 2027, Pope Francis said Sunday at the close of this year’s event in Lisbon.

“The next World Youth Day will be in Asia, it will be in South Korea in Seoul, the pontiff told the faithful assembled to celebrate a Mass at a park on Lisbon’s eastern outskirts.

“And so in 2027, from the western border of Europe, it will move to the Far East, and this is a beautiful sign of the universality of the Church.”

The crowd of around 1.5 million flag-waving young pilgrims from around the globe erupted in cheers at the announcement.

World Youth Day, which is in fact a week-long Catholic jamboree, features a wide range of events, including concerts and prayer sessions.

This year’s edition, initially scheduled for August 2022 but postponed because of the pandemic, was the fourth for Francis after Rio de Janeiro in 2013, Krakow in 2016 and Panama in 2019.

Created in 1986 by John Paul II, it is an opportunity for the Vatican to galvanise young Catholics at a time when secularism and priest paedophilia scandals cause some to abandon pews.

Pope Francis visited South Korea in 2014, in what was the first trip to Asia by a pontiff in 15 years.

The country is one of Roman Catholicism’s few strongholds in Asia.

About 11 percent of South Korea’s population of around 52 million people are Catholic, a figure that has grown in recent decades.

AFP
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