Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Remembering the Pope's Visit

The Catholic media will be filled with reminiscences of Pope Francis' visit to Korea and its meaning for the Korean Church for years to come. Our own Maryknoll family here in Korea had the opportunity to meet the pope and shake his hand. The emotional content will remain for years.

One journalist  writing in the Catholic Times mentions during the five days of the pope's visit the word most often heard was 'envy',  for as long as he can remember there was never an occasion for him  where this mood of 'good envy' was present. From the time of the pope's arrival to the Mass of reconciliation on the day of departure--when distant 30 meters, when close less than one meter--close enough to hear him breathing was the good fortune of many.

During the five days, the journalist was following the pope he mentions the many times he was overcome with emotion. At the times the pope was reacting with different people, many were experiencing what the journalist experienced. Tears came to his eyes not infrequently.

Not only Korea but in other parts of Asia, many were feeling the distress of the pope in many of his encounters. What made for this enthusiasm? The journalist feels for him, using one word, the authenticity which he saw.

Poverty is a word that comes easy to mind, not something easily lived. Humility is easy to talk about, but also difficult to have it become part of who we are. Before he became pope, Francis was living this kind of life, and many people were moved by the encounter.

During difficult times when we remember the happiness of the  past, we are given strength to overcome our problems. The visit of the pope to Korea will have different meanings for all of us, and it will depend on the way we remember the visit in the future that will influence our lives.

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