South Korean youths from the Archdiocese of Seoul have traveled to the other side of the world on the pilgrimage of a lifetime. The group, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Peter Chung Soon-taek
of Seoul, left for Costa Rica on Jan. 14 to take part in the Days in the Dioceses event from Jan. 17-20. Then they will take a 15-hour bus trip to Panama City for World Youth Day 2019
from Jan. 22-27. In a welcoming ceremony in Costa Rica, hosts at San Esteban Protomartir Church in Cartago Diocese performed a special music show for their Korean guests. The Seoul pilgrims gave a statue of the Virgin Mary of Korea and a painting of 103 Korean martyred saints as gifts for the hosting church. They will take part in programs such as volunteer activities, a rally and a pilgrimage to local shrines for Days in the Dioceses. The youngsters invoked God’s protection and blessings in a special Mass before leaving Seoul. "Let’s devote ourselves to God so that the time in Panama can bear fruits under God’s special protection and be a blessing to bring a time of experience, a time of sharing and a time to encounter God while loving our neighbors," Bishop Chung said in a homily. "After a long discussion on the meaning of World Youth Day through the last synod of bishops, we came to the conclusion that even though every youth in the universal church cannot participate due to limitations of time and expense, the religious experience to encounter God is implacable. "Moreover, such characteristics as the mobility and connectivity of young people make this time to share their faith and experience more precious." The Panama event has a theme of "I am the servant of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your world (Lk. 1,38)." About 370 pilgrims from 12 dioceses and three congregations in South Korea are expected to participate in World Youth Day, which will also welcome Pope Francis. Archbishop Andrew Cardinal Yeom Soo-jung
of Seoul will also be present for the biggest religious festival for worldwide youth.