Pope Francis Invites Young People to Rome for Jubilee of 2025

Pope Francis Invites Young People to Rome for Jubilee of 2025

During the World Youth Day closing Mass in Lisbon, Portugal, on August 6, 2023, Pope Francis announced that the next international gathering would be hosted by South Korea in 2025. This will be only the second time that Asia has hosted World Youth Day, with the first being in Manila, Philippines, in 1995.

Pope Francis made a memorable trip to South Korea in 2014, where he noted the country’s rich history of faith, with Catholicism being planted by the laity. He dedicated a general audience to St. Andrew Kim Tae-gon, the first native-born priest of the nation, emphasizing the role of the laity in transmitting the faith.

South Korea has seen significant growth in its Catholic population. According to the Catholic Pastoral Institute of South Korea, the number of Catholics in the country increased from just under 4 million in 1999 to 5.9 million in 2018, a growth of 48.6%. In comparison, the country’s overall population increased by only 21.6%.

Pope Francis has also increased the representation of Asian prelates in the College of Cardinals during his pontificate. In 2013, Asians made up less than 8% of the college, but now they constitute 16%.

The theme of reconciliation is expected to play a significant role during World Youth Day in Seoul. Pope Francis celebrated a Mass for reconciliation and peace in Korea during his 2014 trip, addressing the division between South and North Korea. Although no pope has visited North Korea yet, there have been some advances in that direction during Pope Francis’ papacy, including his willingness to visit if he receives an official invitation.

Overall, the selection of South Korea as the host country for World Youth Day 2025 reflects the universality of the Church and the growth of Catholicism in Asia. It provides an opportunity for young people from around the world to gather and celebrate their faith.