Pope Francis will be the first pontiff in nearly two decades to visit the Far East when he visits South Korea next week.
The Vatican said Thursday that, during his five day visit, Pope Francis will attend the closing Mass at the Youth Day gathering and a reconciliation Mass at Myeongdong Cathedral in Seoul.
"Going to Korea and praying for reconciliation and peace for the Korean people has a great significant meaning."
He will also celebrate the Asian World Youth Day with young people across the continent and beatify the large group of martyrs who first brought the Catholic faith to Korea.
He will find in Korea a Catholic Church that exemplifies much of what he hopes for the church around the world to be including a highly active laity.
The Vatican also confirmed that North Korea has declined to send Catholic believers to a papal mass in Seoul, but said the invitation from the South Korean Church was still open.
Pope Francis will meet relatives of the victims of April's Sewol-ho ferry sinking as well as surviving Korean comfort women who were forced into sex slavery for Japanese troops during World War II.
For the first time on a foreign trip, Pope Francis will speak in public on four occasions in English among his 11 speeches.
The pontiff's plane is due to fly over Chinese airspace and Vatican protocol calls for the pope to send greetings to the leaders of all the countries he flies over.
Ji Myung-kil, Arirang News.
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