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Culture Minister Yoo attends new pope’s inaugural mass

The inaugural mass of Pope Francis at St. Peter's Square in Rome was attended by Korea's Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Yoo Jin-ryong, Cardinal Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk, and Korea’s Ambassador to the Holy See Han Hong-soon. The mass started at 9:30 a.m. on March 19 local time, or 5:30 p.m. Korean time.

Among the VIPs present at the mass for the inauguration of the 266th pope were six monarchs, 31 presidents, three princes, eleven prime ministers, and other top officials, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.S. Vice President Joe Biden. The mass went on for two hours, one hour shorter than previous inaugural masses.

Pope Francis is driven through the crowd in his popemobile in St. Peter's Square for his inauguration mass at the Vatican on Tuesday, March 19 (photo: Yonhap News).

Pope Francis is driven through the crowd in his popemobile in St. Peter's Square for his inauguration mass at the Vatican on Tuesday, March 19 (photo: Yonhap News).


After the mass, Pope Francis received 130 VIPs and religious leaders from various countries in St. Peter’s Basilica. First among the guests, Pope Francis met his compatriot, President Cristina Kirchner of Argentina.

Minister Yoo delivered a handwritten letter from Korean President Park Geun-hye congratulating the new pope.

Minister Yoo also conveyed the wishes of President Park and the Korean public to invite Pope Francis to Korea, the only divided country in the world, and ask him to send a message of peace and love to promote peace on the Korean Peninsula and improve human rights in North Korea.

Minister Yoo Jin-ryong shakes hands with Pope Francis at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican, Rome, on March 19 (photo courtesy of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade).

Minister Yoo Jin-ryong shakes hands with Pope Francis at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican, Rome, on March 19 (photo courtesy of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade).


According to reports, over one million Christians and tourists visited the Vatican to watch the mass.

This year is the 50th anniversary of Korea-Vatican diplomatic relations.

Earlier, on March 14, immediately after the announcement of the new pope, presidential spokesman Yoon Chang-jung delivered congratulations to the new pope by saying, “Korea hopes to closely work with the Vatican to promote world peace and human rights.”

St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, is filled with visitors on Tuesday, March 19 to watch the inaugural mass of the 266th pope (photo: Yonhap News).

St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, is filled with visitors on Tuesday, March 19 to watch the inaugural mass of the 266th pope (photo: Yonhap News).


Minister Yoo is scheduled to return to Korea on Thursday, March 21.

By Limb Jae-un
jun2@korea.kr

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