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Vatican celebrates 60 years of relations with South Korea

Paul Richard Gallagher


J-P Mauro - published on 11/25/23

Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Vatican's Secretary for Relations with States, visited Seoul to meet officials and celebrate the liturgy.
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The Vatican’s Secretary for Relations with States, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, traveled to South Korea in celebration of 60 years of diplomatic relations between the Asian nation and the Holy See. The three day visit, from November 21-23, included meetings with national leaders and a speech at a symposium. 

According to Vatican News, Archibishop Gallagher undertook this institutional journey that reflected on the Church’s attention to the Asian continent. The Vatican has described Asia as “rich with new energies,” with a tradition of seeking balance between its diverse and varied cultures. In this way, the Vatican sees that Aisa can contribute as a model to finding new paths of peace in this world torn apart by fratricidal wars.

During his visit, Gallagher held meetings with the Korean Prime Minister and the Deputy Foreign Minister. His trip culminated with an address at a symposium organized to honor the anniversary of 60 years of diplomatic relations between the two nations. The theme of the symposium, “Being custodians of memory and custodians of hope,” was drawn from comments made by Pope Francis during his 2014 papal visit to Seoul, South Korea. 

Gallagher attended a variety of religious events, but the grandest was Mass at the Seosomun Shrine, for which he was the celebrant. Seosomun Shrine includes on its premises a museum that recently opened an exhibition titled “Love and Peace For All,” to celebrate the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations. The exhibits include artifacts and historical documents that link South Korea with the Catholic Church. Seosomun Shrine is also the place where the first Korean Christians were martyred and, on 6 May 1984, canonized by Saint John Paul II.

The visit stood as a concrete sign of the path that South Korea and the Vatican have traveled for 60 years and promoted the goals to trace new paths of peace. It followed the guidance of Pope Francis when he met with a group of Korean faithful, last September:

“I would like to invite you to rediscover your vocation as ‘apostles of peace’ in every area of ​​life by becoming traveling companions and witnesses of reconciliation; it is credible testimony that the future is not built with the violent force of weapons, but with the gentle force of proximity.”

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