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International Airport of Seoul-Kinpo (Korea)
Monday, 7 May 1984


As I now take leave of you and of your beautiful country, my heart is filled with gratitude, with joy and with hope.

1. I am deeply grateful for the moving warmth and kindness that I have received, for the very generous hospitality accorded me both by the Government and the Church, and by all the people of Korea. I express particular thanks to those who quietly made many unseen sacrifices so that this visit might bring gladness to others.

Above all I am grateful to God our Father that he has enabled me to make this pilgrimage to your land, that he has allowed me to raise its noble sons and daughters - Saint Andrew Kim and his 102 companion martyrs - to the honours of the altar.

2. I leave you also with great joy - joy most of all for having had the opportunity to join you in celebrating the Bicentennial and the Canonization. Surely, it has been a great experience, not only for the Catholic Church but for the entire Korean people who are honoured with such saintly forbears. It has indeed been a great joy for me to share in your happiness. Life would be sad and gray, it would lack cheer and luster, without such rejoicing, and without openness to the transcendent values represented by these events.

3. And this encounter of ours has given me much renewed hope. The youthful vitality, the edifying fervour, the readiness to make whatever effort and sacrifice necessary both to build a model nation and a true Christian community - all this inspires confidence and hope for a worthy tomorrow.

At the same time, however, all this moves me to remember with profound regret, sympathy, and sorrow those of your parents and children, brothers and sisters, friends and relatives in the North who could not share the joy of your celebration, and who are all waiting in pain and expectation to be reunited as one happy family.

Let my word of farewell therefore be an ardent prayer: may the merciful and good Lord grant all of you true happiness and peace, in a society of justice and fraternal love.

Thank you, and God bless you again!


© Copyright 1984 -  Libreria Editrice Vaticana


Copyright © Dicastero per la Comunicazione - Libreria Editrice Vaticana