By Robin Gomes
The Catholic Church’s 4th Korean Youth Day is concluding in the South Korean capital Seoul on Wednesday. The Archdiocese of Seoul is hosting the Korean Youth Day, August 11 to 15, on the theme "It is me; do not be afraid" (Jn 6:20) ).
Organized in the pattern of the international celebration of the World Youth Day, the 3 full-day event brought together some 2,000 young people from 16 Korean dioceses who shared and exchanged their life experiences, and recommitted and reconfirmed their faith in Christ and to His call. The participants were hosted by local families who volunteered through their parishes.
After the inaugural Mass on August 12 by Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo-jung, Archbishop of Seoul, the participants went on pilgrimage to the sacred places in Seoul such as the Korean martyrs’ shrine, attended catecheses by bishops, held a special cultural festival in Myeongdong Cathedral, several concerts and an evening prayer vigil by the Taize Community and its prior, Brother Alois.
August 15 - great significance
The 4th Korean Youth Day will conclude on the feast of the Assumption of our Lady, August 15, a day that has great significance for both the nation and its Catholics.
August 15 is National Liberation Day in both the Koreas. It commemorates the victory over Japan on August 15, 1945, when U.S. and Soviet forces ended the decades-long Japanese occupation of the Korean peninsula.
It was also on the feast of the Assumption on August 15, 1995 that the Catholics of the two Koreas agreed upon to recite the peace prayer of St. Francis of Assisi in their respective countries at the conclusion of the Mass for Peace and Reconciliation held every Tuesday evening in Seoul’s Myeongdong Cathedral.
The first Korean Youth Day was held in Jeju in 2007, the second was in Uijeongbu in 2010 and the third coincided with the 6th Asian Youth Day in Daejeon in 2014, which Pope Francis attended, August 13 to 18.