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Pope Francis arrives in South Korea

Catholic World News - August 14, 2014

Pope Francis arrived in Seoul on August 14.

As is customary for a papal trip, during his 11-hour flight from Rome to Seoul, the Pope sent messages to the heads of state of each of the countries his plane passed over: Italy, Croatia, Slovenia, Austria, Slovakia, Poland, Belarus, Russia, Mongolia, and China. The trip marked the first time a papal plane had ever passed through Chinese air space, and the Pontiff sent a telegram to President Xi Jinping, offering his "best wishes to your excellency and your fellow citizens, and I invoke the divine blessing of peace and well-being on the nation."

The Pontiff prayed at the basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore on August 13 before departing for South Korea.

The nation of 50.4 million is 10% Catholic, nearly 20% Protestant, and 23% Buddhist. Nearly half of South Koreans profess no religion.

The trip is the Pope’s third apostolic journey outside Italy, following travels to Brazil for World Youth Day in July 2013 and the Holy Land in May.

During his five days in South Korea, the Pope is scheduled to deliver six addresses and preach four homilies. He will beatify 124 martyrs and celebrate the closing Mass at the 6th Asian Youth Day.

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