Francis visits South Korea, marking the first papal visit to the country in 25 years. A small percentage of the country’s population, around 10 percent, practices Catholicism, but it is considered to be the fastest growing religion there. Lionel Jensen, associate professor of East Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Notre Dame:
The Pope’s visit to South Korea is the first part of a very intelligent opening to Asia. The Pope’s presence is a powerful symbol of the Vatican’s recognition that it is in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa that the church is growing most prominently.
Francis will stay in the country for five days, and his itinerary includes: beatifying 124 Korean martyrs, helping with celebrating the 6th Asian Youth Day, which is a gathering of Asian Catholic youth and holding a Holy Mass for Peace and Reconciliation, expected to be aimed at prayers for peace, including South and North Korean relations.