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Pope to Asian Youth: 'Wake Up!'

  • VOA News

Pope's arrival for the Closing Holy Mass of the 6th Asian Youth Day at Haemi Castle in Haemi, south of Seoul, South Korea, Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014.

Pope's arrival for the Closing Holy Mass of the 6th Asian Youth Day at Haemi Castle in Haemi, south of Seoul, South Korea, Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014.

Celebrating Mass with thousands of young Catholics in South Korea on Sunday, Pope Francis encouraged the crowd to "wake up" and "be vigilant."

The pontiff led the Asian Youth Day service at the Haemieupseong Fortress in South Chungcheong Province on the second-to-last day of his visit to the country.

"Wake up! Go, go, go ahead... No one who sleeps can sing, dance or rejoice," Pope Francis said.

Earlier Sunday, Francis met with 60 bishops from around Asia at the Haemi Martyrdom Holy Ground in North Chungcheong Province, the site of a 19th century Catholic massacre.

He urged the bishops to listen to people of different cultures but remain true to their Catholic identity, and pressed for countries like China and North Korea to foster a proper dialogue with the Vatican.

China cut formal relations with the Vatican after the Communist Party came to power in 1949.

The pope said the Roman Catholic Church is committed to dialogue with everyone in the spirit of openness to others.

On Saturday, the pope celebrated a huge open-air Mass in the center of Seoul to beatify 124 Korean martyrs who were killed in the 18th and 19th centuries for refusing to renounce Christianity.

Beatification is the last step before sainthood in the Roman Catholic Church.

In his homily Saturday before a crowd of hundreds of thousands at Seoul's Gwanghwamun Gate, Francis again denounced the growing gap between the rich and poor. It was a theme the pope has been repeating since his arrival in South Korea on Thursday.

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