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OVER 700 KOREANS ATTEND WORLD YOUTH DAY

Some 250 Come from the United States, their Adopted Country

SEOUL, AUGUST 11 (ZENIT.org-FIDES).- 610 young Koreans, coming from both East and West, are traveling to Rome to take part in World Youth Day. About 360 are coming from Korea itself, while 250 are traveling to the Eternal City from the United States, their adopted home country.

In Korea itself, some 4,000 youth prepared for the 15th World Youth Day by taking part in the Great Jubilee 2000 "Christ With Us" Youth Festival, held in Taegu, South Korea, from July 25-27. The young people experienced profound communion with Christ, which was attended by Archbishop Paul Ri of Taegu; Archbishop Giovanni Battista Morandini, the Apostolic Nuncio, who read a message to the youth sent by John Paul II; and several other Korean bishops, including Cardinal Stephen Kim, Archbishop Emeritus of Seoul.

The Cardinal broke with Oriental tradition by engaging in a master-disciple dialogue with his young audience, trained to be "seen but not heard" in class. There was a roar of laughter when someone in the audience asked the Cardinal how can one learn to love. "Well, when I ask myself, 'have you really loved someone?' I'm not sure what to say. It might be the same for you," the Cardinal said, to which there was a thunderous "yes" in reply. "It is not easy to love, but we must not give up. What is the longest journey of our life?" the Cardinal asked. There was no reply. "The journey from head to heart," the Cardinal explained. "Only when we understand how much God loves us can we love as Jesus loves; only then can we say we know how to love," the Cardinal stressed.

The students could not help but wonder where the Cardinal got his strength and courage, but he replied that he, himself, is weak, and that the source is God. He urged the youth to pray always, especially in difficult times. "God will be your strength," he said. The Cardinal then asked the youth about their dreams, and what makes them happy, and wondered if the answer was money alone. "No," the youth replied with conviction. To the Cardinal's question, "What is the theme of this festival? The youth answered forcefully: "Christ with us!" To which the Cardinal responded: "Then look to Christ, imitate Christ .... Dear young friends: open your hearts wide to Christ, be with Him and live with Him!" The 4,000 youth clapped and cheered Cardinal Kim, and promised to become disciples of Jesus.

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