South Korea

World Youth Day to revitalize Church: Korean bishops

South Korean capital Seoul to host the global Catholic youth event in 2027

UCA News reporter

Updated: June 07, 2024 11:59 AM GMT

Auxiliary Bishop Paul Lee Kyung-sang of Seoul speaks to diocesan priests at Myeongdong Cathedral in the national capital on June 7. (Photo: Seoul Archdiocese)

A Catholic Church delegation from South Korea met with top officials in the Vatican and expressed enthusiasm that the upcoming World Youth Day (WYD) 2027 in the national capital Seoul would help revitalize the local Church.

The delegation led by Archbishop Peter Chung Soon-taick and Auxiliary Bishop Paul Lee Kyung-sang of Seoul joined the International Youth Pastoral Congress in Rome from May 23-25, and two-day consultation with the Dicastery for the Laity, Family, and Life from May 27 to 28, says a press release from Seoul Archdiocese.

The congress convened approximately 300 delegates from 110 countries under the theme A Synodal Youth Ministry: New Styles and Leadership Strategies, spotlighting various aspects of youth ministry and preparations for the forthcoming WYD Seoul 2027.

During the congress, Archbishop Chung delivered a 30-minute exposition on the prospects of WYD 2027.

Chung reaffirmed the critical need for ecclesiastical transformation to captivate and engage the younger Catholic demographic.

He said WYD would be an opportunity to rejuvenate the Church, rekindle the faith among the youth, and foster a spirit of hope and personal transformation.

Additionally, he highlighted WYD's intrinsic value as an emblematic message to the universal Church amidst contemporary challenges and its potential to inspire unity among diverse faiths and cultures.

Chung's address reportedly inspired congress participants and many expressed interest in learning more about Korean culture.

Following the congress, the Korean delegation participated in a two-day consultation with the Dicastery for the Laity, Family, and Life.

These deliberations culminated in the formalization of a memorandum, signed by Cardinal Kevin Farrell, prefect of the Dicastery and Archbishop Chung.

The memorandum officially designates Seoul as the host city for WYD 2027 and marks the beginning of an ongoing partnership between the Dicastery and the Archdiocese, ensuring collaborative efforts toward a successful and impactful event.

Upon their return to Korea, Bishop Lee, the General Coordinator of the WYD Seoul 2027 Local Organizing Committee, met with all diocesan priests gathered at Myeongdong Cathedral for the World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests on June 7.

During his speech, Lee highlighted the importance of proclaiming God and echoed the rejuvenating vision for the Church presented by Archbishop Chung in Rome.

Bishop Lee also encouraged all the priests to actively engage in the preparations for WYD 2027, underscoring the profound and transformative impact the event will have on young believers.

The official kick-off event for WYD 2027 is slated for July 28 this year.

Additionally, the traditional handing over of the Cross and a replica of the icon Maria Salus Populi Romani, the two emblematic symbols of WYD, will be ceremoniously conducted in November.

World Youth Day is a triennial global Catholic event initiated by Pope John Paul II in 1985. The weeklong event draws tens of thousands of Catholic youths from various parts of the world to celebrate faith through song, dance, prayer, and the sharing of experiences in the presence of the pope.

A total of 354,000 Catholic youth from up to 200 countries registered for the latest World Youth Day 2023 in the Portuguese capital Lisbon from Aug. 1-6, reports say.

The closing Mass presided over by Pope Francis had an estimated 1.5 million participants.

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