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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

South Korean Catholics pray for Olympics as tensions build in North

Parishes in the South Korean province that will host the 2018 Winter Olympics are praying for the event’s success as tensions increase between Washington and Pyongyang, a spokesman for South Korea’s Diocese of Chuncheon has said.

The prayers are included in general Mass intentions every Sunday, Fr Apostle John Kim, diocesan spokesman in Chuncheon, South Korea, told Catholic News Service.

The diocese, which straddles the border between South Korea and North Korea, expects demand for pastoral services from athletes, coaches and others at the games in February 2018. Priests will offer Mass and confessions at the Olympic Village.

“It is important because the athletes need support, confidence, courage and resilience,” Fr Kim said.

Some countries have said they may not send delegations if tensions worsen. The Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic sites are about 50 miles from the border, within the range of North Korean artillery and missiles.

Picture: Lee Hee-beom, president of the Pyeongchang Organising Committee for the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, gestures during a 2016 inspection of a hockey venue under construction in Gangneung, South Korea. The Kwandong Hockey Centre is being built on the campus of Catholic Kwandong University for women’s hockey. (CNS photo/Yonhap, EPA).