for the Seventh Anniversary of Pope Francis’ Election to the Petrine Ministry
(CBCK Chapel, March 18, 2020)
Message of the Apostolic Nuncio in Korea
Your Excellency, the President of the CBCK,
Your Excellencies, Brothers in the Episcopate,
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I am happy to extend my greetings to you at the end of this Eucharist, celebrated as a special thanksgiving to God, in commemoration of the 7th anniversary of the election of His Holiness Pope Francis to the Throne of St. Peter. The health emergency caused by the coronavirus has impelled us to hold a moment of prayer restricted to only a few. Each of you, venerable brothers, evokes in this ‘cenacle’ the sentiments of filial devotion to the beloved Pontiff of all faithful Catholics in the local Churches in Korea.
First, I wish to express my deep gratitude to the Most Rev. Hyginus Kim, President of the CBCK, and to Members of the CBCK who, despite the present difficulties, wanted to renew their collegial affection for the Holy Father. I also wish to ensure my prayerful support for your pastoral ministry in solidarity with the Universal Church.
“You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it” (Mt 16,18), these words of Jesus give the certainty that, despite the storms, the Lord is present and active in the person of His Vicar. His Vicar, with apostolic courage, devotes himself to leading the Church to the safe harbor, all the while manifesting the Church’s pastoral concern for all, especially for those who are suffering. Experiencing our powerlessness in the face of a force of evil that seems to want to wreck the Church and destroy all humanity, we, like the disciples who were afraid of the waves in the near sinking boat, turn to the Lord: “Master, you don’t care that we perish?” But He reassures us and asks us to have faith in Him.
On the Second Sunday of Lent we meditated on the mystery of the Transfiguration of the Lord. Despite the paschal vision of Christ, the human nature of Peter, James and John did not allow them to understand the salvific mission of the Son of God: that He had to pass from suffering and death to the glory of the resurrection. Through those three fearful and hesitant disciples, Jesus wants to bring all of us with him, including our fragile condition and sufferings, to encourage us to put our trust in Him. The Holy Father, at the Angelus of March 8, 2020, commented on this extraordinary event: “We have not been on Mount Tabor, we have not seen with our own eyes the face of Jesus shining like the sun. However, when we too heard the Word of Salvation, faith was given to us, and we have experienced the joy of meeting Jesus in different ways. Jesus also says to us: ‘Rise, and do not be afraid’ (Mt 17,7).”
With this certainty, let us go forward in a spirit of faith and invite the faithful to raise supplications to “God of all encouragement, who encourages us in our every affliction” (2Cor 1,3-4). In this way, we can strengthen our adherence to the Lord, who never abandons us and does not let evil prevail over good.
Let us pray together with the eternal Pastor, saying: “You who built your Church on the rock of Peter, continually assist the Pope to be the living and visible sign, the promoter of the unity of your Church in truth and love. Grant us O Lord, an ardent desire for communion with him and docility to his teachings. Amen.”
+ Alfred Xuereb
Apostolic Nuncio in Korea