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Korean president joins requiem Mass for stampede victims

It is regretful that society has failed to protect its younger generation, says Archbishop Peter Chung
South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol and first lady Kim Keon-hee are seen during a requiem Mass for the victims of Halloween stampede at Myeongdong Cathedral in the capital Seoul on Nov. 6

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol and first lady Kim Keon-hee are seen during a requiem Mass for the victims of Halloween stampede at Myeongdong Cathedral in the capital Seoul on Nov. 6. (Photo: Seoul Archdiocese)

Published: November 09, 2022 04:33 AM GMT

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol and first lady Kim Keon-hee joined hundreds of Catholics in Seoul to pray for the victims and family members of the Halloween stampede tragedy that killed 154 people.

Archbishop Peter Chung Soon-taick of Seoul officiated the requiem Mass at Myeongdong Cathedral in Seoul on Nov. 6, says an official press release.

Archbishop Chung said that the Mass was dedicated especially to the victims and their families.

“Many innocent people have died,” said Archbishop Chung in his homily.  

“It is heart-wrenching because many of them were so young, and had so much life ahead of them. A nation’s fundamental duty is to protect the lives of its citizens. I feel regretful and ashamed that our society has failed to protect its younger generation.”

The prelate also expressed gratefulness on behalf of the Korean people to Pope Francis for his message of condolence and prayers for the victims.

Earlier Catholics across South Korea prayed for the victims of the tragedy during All Souls Day on Nov. 2.

The stampede at the Itaewon area of the capital city occurred on Oct. 29 when around 100,000 people in Halloween costumes poured into two narrow streets for partying, resulting in a stampede.

At least 154 people, including 26 foreigners, were killed and 33 people were hospitalized in the stampede.

The tragedy sparked national and global outrage over lax crowd control blamed for the fatalities.

President Yoon Suk-yeol visited the location of the accident and declared week-long national mourning in South Korea until Nov. 5.

Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Korea (CBCK) issued a statement grieving the loss of lives and called for a proper investigation into the incident.

The bishops had termed the tragedy a result of “the cycle of injustice and irresponsibility” that has become a common practice in this society, which all must strive to break.

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