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Saturday, August 30, 2014

Asian Youth! Wake Up! The Glory of the Martyrs Shines on You. - Part 3 (The Daejon Experience)

BY DS / st
Day 4 - 'Let's Walk Along with Jesus and the Martyrs
On 16th August, the day began with a mass. In the afternoon, delegates took a two-hour bus ride to Hanseo University. The young people experienced the spirit of the martyrs as they walked 5 KM following the same route that the Korean martyrs had walked towards the place of their execution, Haemi Castle. It was a time for the young people to reflect on their own faith and their commitment to God. 

In the 19th century, Catholics in Korea were persecuted as state criminals. In 1790 to 1880, around 3000 Catholics in Naepo region were arrested and some were sent to superior courts of Hongju, Kongju and Seoul and some were executed in Haemi. Only about 70 were known and only God knows the rest of the martyrs. 

Haemi Castle is also known as "The Graves of the Unknown Martyrs." On this day, young people learned about the passion and the courage of the martyrs. The day ended with the final festival symbolizing resurrection.
Day 5 - Go Into the Whole World and Proclaim the Gospel
On the last day, 17th August, delegates assembled with their country-mates to share on the AYD final statement, shared earlier by the representatives from each country. In the afternoon, delegates traveled to Haemi Castle and had the Closing Mass presided over by Pope Francis. The Pope told the young people that they are the heirs of a great testimony and also a precious witness to Christ. 
The pontiff said that the young people have the right and a duty to take full part in the life of societies. He also mentioned on the presence of the Holy Spirit given to the young people during Baptism and sealed within them at Confirmation, they can appreciate the many positive values of the diverse Asian cultures. He urged them to discern and differentiate what is incompatible with Catholic faith

 "Youths" are not only a part of the future of the Church but they are also a necessary and beloved part of the Church’s present. Pope Francis also reminded the young people to keep close to one another and draw even closer to God and be a Church which loves and worships God by seeking to serve the poor, the lonely and the marginalized. 

He challenged the young people to “Wake up!” - be assured of God’s love and go out to the world so that, “by the mercy shown to you”, they, your friends, co-workers, neighbors, countrymen, everyone on this great continent – “may now receive the mercy of God” (cf. Rom 11:31). It is by his mercy that we are saved".

It is the Pope's hope that, in union with Christ and the Church, the young people will be vigilant, not to allow the pressures, the temptations and the sins of themselves or others to dull their sensitivity to the beauty of holiness, to the joy of the Gospel.

"Let us turn to our Mother Mary, who brought Jesus to the world. In your maternal affection help us to bring him to others, to serve him faithfully, and to honor him in every time and place, in this country and throughout Asia. Amen".

By coming together in Daejon, it has doubled the young people blessings because of the presence of our dearly Pope Francis. His message is a wake up call for all the youths and the exposure during AYD has somehow strengthen the faith of young people. Being with the Pope and receiving blessing has boosted their confidence as Catholic youths. AYD is also a call for the youth to strengthen their faith in God and the Catholic church. 

The next Asian Youth Day (AYD) will be held in 2017 in Indonesia!

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