Hong Kong youth moved to tears by Pope Francis' remarks at AYD event

Says the pontiff asked for prayers and that he would also pray for the Church in China
Hong Kong youth moved to tears by Pope Francis' remarks at AYD event

Pope Francis joins hands with youth delegates to pray at an Asian Youth Day event on Thursday. (Photo by Elise Harris/CNA)

A young man from Hong Kong was moved by Pope Francis’ off-the-cuff remarks during the opening celebration of the 6th Asian Youth Day, stating that the pontiff spoke to them “heart-to-heart”.

“For the things that the pope said [in Italian] I couldn’t hear clearly,” but understood that he “would like to talk heart to heart without following the speech. I was so touched by this because I felt that the pope would like to talk much more” than time allowed, Giovanni Pan told CNA on August 15.

“Another point is the moment when we said the Our Father, the Lord’s Prayer,” he explained, referring to the moment when Pope Francis and the thousands of Asian youth present joined hands and prayed the traditional prayer together.

“From the stage I looked at the place where the Chinese and people from Hong Kong were, and I saw that many of them were crying. So I was so touched and I also cried.”

Pan, 33, was one of three youths who spoke during the Asian Youth Day event, giving his testimony and asking questions to Pope Francis, as well as sharing his concerns about the world and modern society.

Reflecting on the theme “Asian Youth! Wake up! The glory of the martyrs shines on you,” the event is one of the key motivations for Pope Francis’ August 14 – 18 visit to South Korea.

Taking place the second of his five day trip, the event was held at the Solmoe Shrine, which sits just south of the country’s capital, Seoul, and is the birthplace of the first Korean-born priest, St. Andrew Kim Taegon, who was martyred in the 1800s.

In his speech during the youth event Pan jested about his Italian name, saying to the Roman “Me chiamo Giovanni,” which means “My name is Giovanni,” and ended by thanking the pope in Italian, saying “Grazie.”

He also asked the Pope how Hong Kong can host a future World Youth Day.

After finishing their speeches, the three youth had the opportunity to greet Pope Francis. Walking to the back of the stage where he was seated, they each knelt down and kissed his papal ring.

“When I knelt down before the pope he touched my hand. He asked me a question, and the translation of a word,” Pan told journalists in an August 15 press briefing, stating that “I actually didn't hear very clearly because it was so noisy at that time, so I just responded ‘yes.’”

“Then the Pope talked to me in English. He told me to pray for him, and said that he would pray for the Church in China.”

Full story: Chinese youth moved to tears by pope's informal remarks

Source: Catholic News Agency

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