Target: Pope Francis
Goal: Show your appreciation of the Pope’s efforts to bring peace to North and South Korea
Ever since the Korean War (1950-1953), relations in Korea have been strained between the communist North and the United States’ backed South. Since Korea has a large Christian population, Pope Francis sought to ease the tensions by holding a mass with South Korean president Park Geun-hye and some North Korean defectors in attendance.
Pope Francis’ peace mission could not have come at a better time with the United States and South Korea gearing up for a military drill against North Korea, and North Korea’s statement that it would fire back. At the start of Pope Francis’ visit, North Korea had some test firings, but explained that it was in remembrance of Korea’s freedom from Japan’s rule.
Pope Francis believes in reconciliation for all of Asia. He reminded everyone at the mass that the world’s people are part of one family that needs to acknowledge its differences, yet provide each other with generous humanitarian assistance. The Pope will visit the Philippines and Sri Lanka as well, coming in peace rather than in conquest to make up for past offenses of the Catholic Church.
The Pope has a history of humanitarianism. In his younger days, he wanted to be a missionary in Asia, but was prevented by his poor health. As a result, when Pope Francis visited Korea, he especially reached out to the youth, encouraging their faith.
During his visit in Korea, Pope Francis was presented with a crown of thorns strung together from the barbed wire that used to separate North and South Korea. He also received a butterfly pin from the former comfort women of Korea. The pin served as a symbol of the suffering inflicted upon them by the Japanese military as prostitutes during World War II. The Pope pinned it on himself in support of the comfort women’s demand for an apology.
Please applaud Pope Francis for his ability to bring forgiveness and compassion to those wounded by war in North and South Korea and throughout the world.
Dear Pope Francis,
I am writing to thank you for your commitment to world peace in North and South Korea. It takes a great deal of courage and leadership to face two warring countries. Your conviction is sure to unite those in search of peace to reach out and inspire others.
Please continue to strive for a world free of violence and strife.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Jung Yeon-Je