His images are on roadside banners and subway stations, mega-size welcome posters hanging from buildings and Korean television stations broadcasting his every public moment. Pope Francis impressed by the austerity and modesty. His choice was of a modest, locally made Kia Soul car to be used on his visit. Kia Motors Corp.said it was “honored” by the pope’s use of the car. The papal ride from the airport to the city was broadcast live.
At Seoul, Pope Francis made for first time a public speech on English. At the Presidential office in Seoul he was greeted by South Korean President Park Geun-hye. She appreciated the pontiff’s decision to make the trip demonstrated his special interest in the country, whose population is 10% Catholic, and a desire to bring peace to a divided continent. “Korea’s quest for peace is a cause close to our hearts, for it affects the stability of the entire area and indeed of our whole war-weary world,” the Korean President said.
The pope’s agenda is mainly focused on religious events. On Saturday, the Pope will preside over a ceremony to to beatify 124 Korean martyrs who were tortured and killed in the 18th and 19th centuries after refusing to renounce their faith. He will be also present Sunday at the closing Mass for the Asian Youth Day, which involves thousands of young Catholics from 23 countries.