Attending and addressing Asian Youth Day in Haemi, South Korea on Sunday, Pope Francis asked the young people present, Christians from all over the world’s largest continent, to expend their energies spreading the love of Christ throughout Asia. The Pope pointed to the example of Asia’s many martyrs for the faith as examples of those who expended their lives for the sake of the Good News of Jesus Christ. “Asian youth, wake up!” declared the Pope. “As young Christians, whether you are workers or students, whether you have already begun a career or have answered the call to marriage, religious life or the priesthood, you are not only a part of the future of the Church; you are also a necessary and beloved part of the Church’s present!” exclaimed Francis.
The Papal Mass took place at Haemi Castle, which was a place of imprisonment for Christians used in the 19th Century. Francis pointed to the examples of the 124 Korean Martyrs that he had beatified the day before his meeting with the youth, who expended their lives for the sake of the faith. The martyrs “handed over their bodies to their persecutors; to us they have handed on a perennial witness that the light of Christ’s truth dispels all darkness, and the love of Christ is gloriously triumphant.”
“The Asian continent, imbued with rich philosophical and religious traditions, remains a great frontier for your testimony to Christ,” the Pope taught. “As young people not only in Asia, but also as sons and daughters of this great continent, you have a right and a duty to take full part in the life of your societies. Do not be afraid to bring the wisdom of faith to every aspect of social life!” The Pontiff observed the beauty of Asian culture, and yet the Gospel, he said, can give Asian young people the ability “to discern what is incompatible with your Catholic faith, what is contrary to the life of grace bestowed in Baptism, and what aspects of contemporary culture are sinful, corrupt, and lead to death.”