Apostolic nuncio visiting Jeju says the pontiff wants refugees to maintain their courage
Archbishop Alfred Xuereb (center) and Bishop Peter Kang U-il (right) speak to Yemeni refugees staying at a mission station of Moseulpo Church on July 28. (Photo supplied by Cheju Diocese)
Pope Francis expressed his support for Yemeni refugees in South Korea by sending funds from papal charities.
On July 28-29, Archbishop Alfred Xuereb, apostolic nuncio to Korea, visited Cheju Diocese for the first time and showed the pope's solidarity for Yemeni refugees on the southern tourist island of Jeju by consoling them.
He stressed that the diocese's care and efforts for the refugees coincide with those of Pope Francis. The diocese provides refugees with their daily necessities. In addition, Bishop Peter Kang U-il of Cheju released a pastoral letter on July 1 urging the Catholic faithful to support them.
Archbishop Xuereb visited a mission station of Moseulpo Church where nine refugees are staying and listened to their stories of hardship. The church is providing them with food and helping them to learn the Korean language.
"Pope Francis asked the refugees staying on Jeju not to lose their courage. There are no first-class or second-class citizens. We are all beloved human beings. When we admit other people and other religions, we can show our love concretely," Archbishop Xuereb said.
Asking refugees to respect the law and system of South Korea, he added: "You will be welcomed in Korea when you prove you are not harmful to Korean society. You should cooperate with Koreans while staying here."
Archbishop Xuereb presided a Sunday Mass at Jeju Joongang Cathedral with Bishop Kang.
"With some 500 Yemeni refugees, Jeju received national attention. It is shameful that we dispute only 500 refugees while Germany offered homes for one million refugees," Bishop Kang said in his homily.
After the Mass, Archbishop Xuereb delivered 10,000 euro (US$11,685) from papal charities granted by Pope Francis.
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