South Korean Youth Excited to Host Next World Youth Day with Pope Francis

By Charles Igwe

Following the announcement that the next international World Youth Day (WYD) will be hosted in Seoul, South Korea, two South Korean pilgrims who attended this year’s WYD in Portugal expressed their thrill and excitement.


Sunkwang Choi Matias, hailing from Seoul, described the news as “very meaningful,” expressing happiness and eagerness for the preparations ahead. Choi conveyed a heartfelt message to Pope Francis, wishing him good health and assuring him of their prayers.


Pope Francis, known for his affinity for Asia, has visited the continent multiple times, with his last visit scheduled for Mongolia later this month. His visits to Asian countries have been filled with profound spiritual encounters, including meeting with young people, civil authorities, and marginalized communities.


The pope’s interest in Asia is also reflected in his appointment of Lazzaro You Heung-sik, the former bishop of Daejeon, as the prefect of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Clergy in 2021. This marked the first time a South Korean was given such a leadership role in the Vatican, and a year later, he was appointed as a cardinal.


Choi recalled the joyous occasion of Pope Francis’ visit to Seoul in 2017 and expressed excitement for their first-ever experience of World Youth Day in Portugal. He admired the simplicity and power of the pope’s messages, which deeply touched their hearts.

Also read: Seoul, South Korea, Chosen as Host City for Next World Youth Day by Pope Francis

Another pilgrim, Seokjin Hong Basilius, who is a seminarian from Seoul, passionately shared his goal of preaching the Gospel to deaf people. He studied Sign Language intensively before attending WYD in Portugal and was moved by the Sign Language interpreters during the event. He expressed gratitude for the Pope’s inclusivity, particularly regarding people with disabilities, acknowledging their desire to know the Gospel more profoundly.


Both pilgrims are excited for the next WYD to take place in their homeland, Seoul, and look forward to welcoming young people from around the world to experience the beauty of faith and fellowship in South Korea.

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